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Drazan: Governor Traumatizes Victims
Democrats bumble juvenile crime policy during a crime wave

It started in 2019 -- a session where if one didn't know any better, they might think that the criminals had some powerful lobbyists. Among other bills, the legislature passed SB 1008 including sentence reductions for some juvenile crimes, which -- under Measure 11, the mandatory sentencing rule -- required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Though Democrat Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted against it, two Senate Republicans -- Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) and Dallas Heard (R-Winston) voted for it, passing it with exactly two-thirds.

It needed all the Democrat votes plus two Republican votes to pass the House. In the end, four House Republicans joined the Democrat caucus -- Representatives Lynn Findley (R-Vale), E. Werner Reschke(R-Klamath Falls), Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

It was widely understood that the bill was not retroactive. Testimony on the floor of the House assured that. Even Representative David Brock Smith issued a vote explanation following his yes vote, noting that the bill "is not retroactive, applies only to sentences imposed after January 1, 2020, and no currently incarcerated youth offenders will be released by its passage."

The Oregon District Attorneys' Association begged for a no vote, saying,

"SB 1008 makes sweeping changes to Oregon's juvenile justice system, including removing mandatory sentences for 15, 16, and 17 year-olds who hurt others with guns, commit violet rape, and commit aggravated murder.

While ODAA agrees that Oregon's juvenile justice system needs improvement, overriding a ballot initiative with a legislative super-majority is not the answer. Legislative amendments to a criminal justice ballot initiative...

Recently, Governor Brown announced her intention to commute the sentences of several Measure 11 felons -- most now adults -- who were sentenced under the old Measure 11 sentences for violent crimes as youths a move that many read as contradicting the promise that SB 1008 would not be retroactive.

This week Governor Brown’s commutation list for prison sentences was made available to the media before victims were notified, prioritizing violent offenders and harming victims and their families.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to Governor Kate Brown’s commutation of sentences:

“The Governor continues to abuse executive power and is now minimizing the voices of victims. Voters passed Measure 11 to give victims of violent crimes the security of justice and safety with truth in sentencing. The Governor is circumventing voters and the Legislature to clear the path for these violent offenders to be released, despite the trauma it causes victims and their families as they’re forced to relive these crimes.”

The Department of Corrections said it has identified a total of 248 people who meet the governor’s criteria for commutation.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-04 20:45:01Last Update: 2021-11-04 20:58:07



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