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Measure 11: What Today’s Opponents Want
Early release will re-traumatize victims of violent crime

Editor's note: This is the fourth of a multi-part series on Measure 11 and its impact on crime. This series is adapted from letters written to the legislature by Kevin Mannix, the author of Measure 11.

The attack on Measure 11 is clear, comprehensive and deliberate. This is a complete list of all the bills that make changes to the provisions of Measure 11. Many of these, if enacted, will change the face of criminal justice in Oregon. Each of these bills requires a two-thirds majority in each chamber, which means 40 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-24 09:51:00Last Update: 2021-03-20 21:15:29



Measure 11: Before and After
The low range of the sentencing guidelines was the norm

Editor's note: This is the third of a multi-part series on Measure 11 and its impact on crime. This series is adapted from letters written to the legislature by Kevin Mannix, the author of Measure 11.

The reality of the sentencing guidelines as they were actually carried out in 1994, the last year before Measure 11 went into effect, is that the low range of the sentencing guidelines was the norm. In fact, in many cases convictions for very serious crimes lead to sentences under sentencing guidelines of probation rather than incarceration in state prisons.

For example, in 1994 60 persons were convicted of Rape in the First Degree. Five of these 60 convicted rapists were sentenced to probation rather than prison under the complex formula of sentencing guidelines. This was the case even though the lowest guideline sentence for Rape in the First Degree was supposed to be 34 months.

Proponents of the elimination of Measure 11 argue that it is sufficient to rely on the felony sentencing guidelines system. So, it is helpful to compare the mandatory minimum prison sentence under Measure 11 with the guideline sentence range.

Crime 1994 Sentencing
Guidelines in Months
Measure 11 Mandatory
Minimum Sentence
in Months
Murder 120-269 300
Manslaughter in the first degree 58-130 120
Manslaughter in the second degree 16-45 75
Assault in the first degree 34-130 90
Assault in the second degree 16-45 70
Kidnapping in the first degree 58-130 90
Kidnapping in the second degree 34-72 70
Rape in the first degree 34-130 100
Rape in the second degree 16-45 75
Sodomy in the first degree 34-130 100
Sodomy in the second degree 16-45 75
Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree 34-130 100
Unlawful sexual penetration in the second degree 16-45 75
Sexual abuse in the first degree 16-45 75
Robbery in the first degree 34-72 90
Robbery in the second degree Probation or up to 30 months in local jail 70



--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-23 09:50:27Last Update: 2021-03-20 20:41:15



Measure 11: Under Assault by the Governor and Legislature
Every victim of these criminals will have to be contacted

Editor's note: This is the second of a multi-part series on Measure 11 and its impact on crime. This series is adapted from letters written to the legislature by Kevin Mannix, the author of Measure 11.

Proponents of the elimination of Measure 11 argue that it is sufficient to rely on the felony sentencing guidelines system. So, it is helpful for current legislators to compare the mandatory minimum prison sentence under Measure 11 with the guideline sentence range.

An examination of the reality of the sentencing guidelines as they were actually carried out in 1994, the last year before Measure 11 went into effect, is instructive. The low range of the sentencing guidelines was the norm.

In fact, in many cases convictions for very serious crimes lead to sentences under sentencing guidelines of probation rather than incarceration in state prisons. For example, in 1994 60 persons were convicted of Rape in the First Degree. Five of these 60 convicted rapists were sentenced to probation rather than prison under the complex formula of sentencing guidelines. This was the case even though the lowest guideline sentence for Rape in the First Degree was supposed to be 34 months.

Thanks to a comprehensive 1997 Oregon Criminal Justice Commission report, we can take a look at the actual prison sentence imposed under Sentencing Guidelines throughout 1994, in 34 out of the 36 counties in Oregon (two counties did not submit data). 1994 is the last year in which Measure 11 did not exist.

Here are some reality checks, all based on real world data of Oregon courts in 1994: The criminal justice system, sadly, under Sentencing Guidelines, fails to provide justice to victims of some of the worst violent and sexual assault crimes. This is the same sentencing system which opponents of Measure 11 want to return to. The actual statutory description of many of the 16 crimes covered by Measure 11 will help people understand why it has often been said "the crime defines the time" regarding the mandatory minimum Measure 11 prison sentences.

Governor Brown is considering granting early release for Measure 11 criminals who helped fight Oregon Wildfires. The only way the Governor can reduce any Measure 11 mandatory minimum prison sentence is by using her constitutional clemency power. Many believe that the exercise of clemency power requires that the Governor evaluate each specific case in which clemency is considered, and that she cannot carry out massive clemency grants which have the effect of changing established law regarding criminal sentences.

Many oppose this proposed reduction of sentences as to violent and sex criminals in light of the crimes which are involved and in recognition of the rights of victims to be consulted about this. Under the Oregon constitution every single victim of these Measure 11 criminals will have to be contacted in regard to this early release. This in itself imposes additional trauma on these victims.

Photo by Issy Bailey on Unsplash


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-22 09:49:16Last Update: 2021-03-20 20:45:26



Measure 11: The Background
What does Measure 11 do?

Editor's note: This is the first of a multi-part series on Measure 11 and its impact on crime. This series is adapted from letters written to the legislature by Kevin Mannix, the author of Measure 11.

Up to 1989, Oregon law appeared to give judges wide sentencing discretion for felonies.

Felonies were divided into three classes, separate from murder. Judges could impose up to the following maximum sentences: 20 years for Class A felonies, 10 years for Class B felonies, and 5 years for Class C felonies. However, the discretion of judges was actually significantly limited because a parole board appointed by the governor could reduce sentences and release convicted felons early. It routinely did so. This was "reformed" by the adoption of felony sentencing guidelines in 1989.

In 1989, Oregon was confronted with a shortage of prison beds and a lack of "truth-in­ sentencing" because the parole board had broad authority to reduce sentences imposed by judges, and often did so. A comprehensive reform package was passed by the Legislature to establish a felony sentencing guideline system. Judges were constrained from imposing felony sentences outside the guidelines. They could only go outside the guidelines for "substantial and compelling reasons."

At the same time, sentences imposed by judges could only be reduced by up to 20 percent for good behavior in prison. Accordingly, the parole board power was restricted for sentences imposed under the new system.

The problem with the sentencing guidelines is that they were written to reflect Oregon's limited prison facilities, not a determination as to the appropriate sentence from the perspective of justice. The felony sentencing guidelines were resource-driven rather than justice-driven. Proponents of the guidelines promised that additional prison facilities would be established, and the guidelines could be strengthened as the facilities came online.

Between 1989 and 1994, no legislation was passed to provide additional prison resources or to enhance the sentencing guidelines. This led me to author Measure 11, which passed by a 66% favorable vote, in November 1994. Measure 11 established mandatory minimum prison sentences for the 16 most violent crimes.

Oregon voters placed Measure 11 on the ballot on November 1994 and it passed with a 66% favorable vote. Measure 11 went into effect in April 1995. Measure 11 establishes mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for criminals who have been convicted of 16 specific violent and sexual crimes. Measure 11 does not involve sentences for property crimes or drug crimes. Measure 11 only addresses the worst levels of violent and sexual crimes. For example, there are four levels of criminal assault and Measure 11 only applies to Assault in the First Degree and Assault in the Second Degree; there are three levels of robbery, but Measure 11 only applies to Robbery in the First Degree and Robbery in the Second Degree.

There are 16 crimes - out of the scores if not hundreds of crimes defined in Oregon statutes - which are covered by voter-passed Measure 11:
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-21 09:37:23Last Update: 2021-03-21 09:45:46



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