October 22 Letters:


Letter 1 from Howard Rodstein:

To: The Voters Of Oregon

From: Howard Rodstein

Date: October 22, 1999

Subject: Crime Victims' Rights 1999 Ballot Measures

In the next week, Oregonians will finish voting on seven ballot measures that affect crime victims and our criminal justice system. These measures seek to put the rights of crime victims in the Oregon Constitution, alongside the rights of criminals and criminal defendants.

A group calling itself "Crime Victims For Justice", with lavish funding from criminal defense attorneys, says that these measures do nothing for crime victims. They are promoting this conclusion using inaccurate, far-fetched, and misleading arguments, in an effort to scare the voters of Oregon. Crime victims throughout the state see this as the cynical ploy that it is.

In this package, victims respond. Please read this material carefully and keep it in mind when judging the arguments of our opposition.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein


Letter 1 from Jayne Ferlitsch:

From: Jayne Ferlitsch

To: The Oregonian

Subject: Editorials By Steve Doell and Floyd Prozanski

Date: Wednesday, October 20, 1999 11:59 AM

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl named Jennifer who lived in the beautiful state of Oregon. She was always helping others and made everyone feel special. She tried her best to do well in school even though dyslexic, and she became a talented writer and poet. On July 18, 1999, she and her grandparents set off to the Oregon coast for a fun day in the sun. Jennifer never made it to the coast. Neither did her grandfather, Martin. Only her grandmother, Angela, made it to the coast that day...in an ambulance to Providence Seaside Hospital. And why? Because a man, who had killed before, was driving a van while high on drugs.

The man who killed Jennifer and her grandfather, Martin, had been in trouble with the law since he was 18 years old. Now at 55 years old, he has gone through numerous rehabilitation programs---and had several "second chances." This man does not want to be rehabilitated. He is dangerous and should have been in prison instead of out killing and assaulting people.

Arwen Bird, put into a wheelchair by a drunk driver, wants us to vote "no" on the victims' rights measures. Assisted by Floyd Prozanski, she is "standing up" for survivors and wants leniency for criminals. She feels more emphasis should be put on collecting restitution from criminals rather than incarcerating them. But ask Jennifer's mother, "Do you want money?" She will say "No--I want justice!" Ask Angela, "Do you want to give the man who killed your husband another chance?" She will say, "Did my husband get another chance? Did he ever do anything wrong? No---I want justice!"

Justice will only come when the voters in Oregon realize that there are MANY people out on the streets who could care less about your families. They drink and drive, they are violent, they keep doing the same thing again and again. If they are given stiffer penalties, if they serve their FULL sentence time, if the victims are able to speak at trials, if violent criminals are kept in jail without bail---only then can we hope to see fewer families in pain.

We are lucky in our case. Josh Marquis, the DA of Clatsop County, HAS been keeping us informed of the proceedings. The killer IS in jail awaiting trial---(but only because no one would post his $1.25 million bail). We WILL be able to speak at the trial. But this should not be the exception---this should be the law for all victims.

I support Steve Doell and Crime Victims United. Steve lost his 12-year-old Lisa. We lost our 12-year-old Jennifer and father and grandfather, Martin. I urge all Oregonians to vote YES on Measures 69-75, so no one else knows what it is to lose someone at the hands of a repeat criminal.

Sincerely,

Jayne Ferlitsch

Tigard, Oregon


Letter 2 from Jayne Ferlitsch:

TO: ARWEN BIRD, CRIME VICTIMS FOR JUSTICE

FROM: JAYNE M. FERLITSCH

SUBJECT: LETTER TO EDITOR, OREGONIAN

DATE: 10/20/99

CC: HOWARD RODSTEIN, CRIME VICTIMS UNITED

Dear Arwen,

I am sending you a copy of a letter I wrote to the Oregonian in response to the commentaries from Steve Doell and Floyd Prozanski. I wanted you to know how some recent victims really feel. We do not feel like survivors. We feel victimized by a system that did not protect us and our loved ones.

You made the choice to go to a party where alcohol was being served. You were under the legal age for drinking. Your younger sister was drunk. You were hit by a drunk driver. You want the drunk driver to pay for your medical bills.

Jennifer and Martin were not doing anything wrong when they were killed. They were killed by a man who killed before while drunk driving. There is no amount of money that can pay for the loss of Jennifer, who was 12, or Martin. We miss them so much, and only feel pain and anger knowing that the killer could care less. These are the types of criminals that we need to be protected from. The ones who do not care about others. The ones who do the same crimes again and again. The ones who cannot be& and who do not want to be rehabilitated. That is why I am voting for Measures 69 through 75. I urge you to take another look at what you think you are representing, because it isn't our family.

Sincerely,

Jayne M. Ferlitsch


A letter from Julie Hedden:

October 19, 1999

Dear Ms. Bird:

My name is Julie Hedden and I, like you, have been a victim of violent crime. I am writing to you because I have seen you and your organization in the media lately opposing the victimís rights measures that are on the special election ballot. I know that you and your associates are very against these measures.

I am not writing to you to devalue your beliefs on this matter in anyway. I feel that everyone has a right to his or her opinion, after all that is the backbone of democracy. But I also believe that everyone has the capacity to open up their mind, broaden their focus and see the bigger picture. As a victim, I am voting for all these measures and am especially concerned about the passage of Measure 74, I call it the Disclosure measure, and how it will directly affect my family, friends, the whole community, and me.

I am 37 years old and come from I suppose your typical middle class family. Two parents, two children, dogs, cats, very small town what most people consider very "White Bread American". My mother worked for the state and quit to become a homemaker. My father owned a small grocery store with his brother in Hubbard, Oregon, a small town between Portland, and Salem. The store was a family staple, my father bought it from his father, and it had been in our family for 49 years. It was a very integral part of my life. In the years prior to 1996 my father had worked everyday of his life. The only day that the store was closed was on Christmas. His brother who was a partner in the store had cancer and was unable to work much, so the store and the livelihood it provided to 2 families became my fatherís sole responsibility. All in all I believe that my father didnít mind too much. He truly loved the town and all the people in it. I was married with a family, as was my sister. My mom stayed home and took care of things there, so I think my Dad felt that in the store was where he could help people the most. His family was provided for but he knew others were not so fortunate. The store was a second home to everyone including myself. That is the place I would go to visit him. I would bring my daughter there and he would sit her on the counter and spoil her with candy, toys, or whatever she seemed to want at the time. I remember people coming in and he seemed to know everyone. I also remember him telling people that they could pay him later if they didnít have enough money to buy things. I was always a bit cynical, always saying "you will never get your money, that is no way to run a business". He would always tell me that he was more worried that the family ate, than if they paid him. I grew up hearing "if someone needs your help you help them because you never know when you might need help". At the time I never realized how important those words would end up being.

On June 25, 1996, I had gotten home from work when the phone rang. It was a friend and we were chatting about the usual things. How was your day, boy it was sure warm today and other niceties. Then in the middle of the conversation an operator comes on telling me to break the connection because Tim Green was trying to get through to me. Tim is like a little brother to me. He was the annoying little neighbor boy who would always come over. He spent hours with my dad, eventually working at the store in his spare time. In fact when he got married, on his invitations, he referred to my parents as his honorary parents. Needless to say I got off the phone and since I am not known for my patience I called the store, knowing that Dad was always there and he would tell me what happened. I will never forget the phone ringing and ringing. My first thought was that Dad had a heart attack. He had been working so hard lately and had not been feeling his best, battling the flu. I decided to hang up and wait. It seemed like forever but it was probably only a minute or two and the phone rang. Tim said I needed to get to the store, but would not tell me why. Just to drive careful. I took Nicole, my daughter who was 4 1/2 at the time to the sitters, explaining that something was wrong, and I would contact her as soon as I knew something. My husband was at work and I called him and told him I was headed to the store because I think Dad is sick. I told him I would call him as soon as I knew something. On the way to the store it hit me that I wasnít going to the hospital. If Dad was sick or had a heart attack they would have taken him there. A 20 minute drive seemed to take forever.

As I got close to the store I noticed yellow police tape around it and lots of cars and a few policemen. I pulled up, jumped out and ran for the store door only to be stopped by an officer. I remember seeing people around, friends, family, and townspeople hugging and crying. I searched the crowd but I did not see my Dad. I asked or should I say demanded to know where he was. I was told he was in the store and I could not go in, it was a crime scene. I remember only thinking that I needed to help my Dad because no one was in there with him. A lot is a blur, but I overheard someone say there had been a robbery. I remember composing myself and asking a police officer if my Dad had been shot. He said no, it was a knife. I then asked if my Dad was dead. The answer was yes. I will never get this scene out of my head. I remember staying at the store, waiting for the chaplain and the victims advocate. Hearing her tell me what would happen. The bodybag, autopsy, investigation, evidence, fingerprints. I heard words spoken to me that I only thought were said in movies. I went home after his body was moved which was about midnight. The crime happened around 5:00. I remember thinking that this is all a dream. I will wake up tomorrow and things will be fine, normal. I woke up the next morning, turned on the TV and there it was. A storeowner had been murdered. I realized I wasnít dreaming I was living a nightmare. My life would never be normal again.

In the days that followed, I dealt with media, lawyers, police officers, insurance people, family, friends, funeral homes, cemeteries and everything in between. My mom was in a state of shock and my sister does not have the mental capacity to deal with such tragedy. She has epilepsy, which is brought on by stress. So there I was. I was thrust into a world I was not at all familiar with. There is a sci-fi novel by Heinlin called "A stranger in a Strange Land" about a Martian coming to earth and being so lost in a society he doesnít know. I finally realize what how true to life this novel is. I was thrown into a world I knew nothing about. The customs seemed strange, and the dialog foreign: Arraignments, affirmative defense, felony murder, aggravated murder.

The next year consisted of arraignments, meeting with prosecutors, pleas, and questions, lots of questions. It seemed like the more questions I wanted answered, the more confused I got. I heard so much speculation in the media, and from people in general, I never really knew what happened and why? Why my dad? How? I grew more and more frustrated and hearing "we canít tell you that" or "we canít confirm that" that I wondered how other people dealt with this. I happened to get a hold of a Parents of Murdered Children Newsletter. I called the president and only got her answering machine. She was out of town. I then saw a number for Bob and Dee Dee Kouns with an organization a called Crime Victims United. I called this number and Bob Kouns answered. I told him my story and he listened. I then asked him for help. He talked to me for about 2 hours, telling me what to expect. How things in the system work and explaining to me how this foreign society called the "legal system" worked. He also explained that it was the prosecutors that are working for my father and me. Only they could get a conviction. After I hung up the phone I finally felt that I had an understanding of things. That I was no longer left in the dark, and I could see a light. I explained to Bob that I wanted to help and be involved. He told me to grieve, and work on healing first. That that is what is most important now. Get through this and then join if you still want to. But get through this battle first.

Through out the year we were getting ready for trial. There were going to be 2 trials. One for the man up for aggravated murder and 1 for the 2 defendants up for felony murder. What I found out before then was that 3 men decided they wanted beer money. They targeted my Dad because he was 63, had been a bit ill, had bad legs, and alone. An easy mark. They knew he would not be able to fight back. They had this all planned. I knew he had been stabbed but had heard rumors from 52 to 3 times. I heard he called 911 but did not know anything had been said. Everything was speculation; no one could confirm anything. It seems that every meeting I had with the prosecutor just brought me more questions, not any answers.

In January of 97, the driver of the getaway car decided to plead guilty. He would plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and the sentence would be 17 1/2 years. Even though he was just the driver he deserved a stiff punishment because this was his 39th arrest and he was only 28. He was a career criminal that served little or no time again and again. His co-defendant wanted to go to trial. He was the man that went into the store and distracted my father so the other man could stab him. This was his 10th arrest. He was the same way, he served little or no time each time, even when it was assault with a knife. The trial lasted for 3 days. It was in court that I found out my father had been stabbed 16 times with a 12-inch knife. I heard the 911 call that he made afterwards and will never forget hearing his dying voice saying "Help me I have been stabbed" and then hearing him hit the floor. I also found out that every major organ had been pierced and that the first person on the scene was an off-duty cop. He said he tried to stop the bleeding but that there was no blood left in him to stop. They drained him. All the while the defendant claims he did nothing wrong. That even though he was less than 2 feet away from my dad and walked over his body to get the money out of the register, he says he did not see him get stabbed. My family and I also had to endure his family and gang member friends threaten us. They were upset because the guy got caught. It was amazing. The jury found him guilty and the judge sentenced him. The judge used his own discretion and gave the guy more than the minimum. Minimum is 25 years and the judge gave him 29 1/2. I was able to speak at sentencing and speak I did. It was finally my turn. I spoke at all the sentencings. Getting my voice heard is so important to my healing. The defendant got to speak, still saying he did nothing wrong. This is his constitutional right to speak. It should be mine too. Thank goodness I had a good judge that let me. I had heard that that right is up for interpretation and not a guaranteed right. I have never understood that. It is so important for the victim to be heard.

During the trial the man who did the actual stabbing decided to plead guilty to aggravated murder. He was afraid of getting the death penalty and accepted a sentence of life with no parole. At sentencing his only words were that he needed bus money to get back home to California and he also wanted beer money. So, he took the knife, went up behind my Dad and started stabbing. Not once, twice, or even 3 times, but 16 times. It amazed me that he showed absolutely no remorse. I can honestly say that I know what it is like to look into the eyes of a monster. There was no heart and no soul in those eyes. I thank God everyday that he can never do this to another family.

My life now is very different. I am going through a divorce; the stress of the murder was too much on my marriage. I struggle to make ends meet and so does my mother. In our case we had no one to get restitution from, the murderers had no money. I am in a totally different line of work. I was a horse trainer. Horses are my passion, or were my passion. My Dad was totally behind me in that and now that he is gone; it is too painful to be around the horse. It is a memory I have with my Dad. The store has been sold and my uncle succumbed to cancer soon after the trial.

I heard you say that you thought victims supporting these measures had a vengefulness about them. I have no vengeance in my heart. I only have compassion and empathy. I do not want these men to hurt anyone else. It scares me to think that they could be resentenced if Measure 11 was repealed and Measure 74 does not pass. No one should have to go through what my family has gone through. If I wanted vengeance I would have found a way to kill them. I wanted to, trust me. But that is not moral or legal. If I have to live up to the laws, why shouldnít others? I donít believe in vengeance but I believe in justice. If you break the law, there should be consequences to pay. It is not a hard concept for anyone to figure out. Murder is wrong in any form. I also have spoke to inmates in prison. I have spoken to an empathy group at the state prison. I sat in a roomful of murderers. I have no vengeance for them. In fact, I wanted to be able to have them think, think about what they did and whom they affected. If they get out I hope that they will not do this again. It does not mean that I think they should not be in there, they should be, they not only broke the law, but devastated a family, but after there sentence, I hope they do not repeat their crime.

I am also now a member of Crime Victims United. I took Bob Kouns words to heart. I waited until I could heal my wounds, relieve the anger and hurt in my heart and go into this with both eyes open. I am still wounded and angry about the crime, but I am not bitter towards the world. I can now see the bigger picture and can see it clearly. When thinking about these measures I, like you, believe in the constitution. I believe that everyone should have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". It is ironic to me though that the men who took these rights away from my father by killing him, are guaranteed these rights, but I, my family, and especially my 8 year old daughter are not, and we are the innocent ones who follow the law. I guess that is why I support the victims rights measures and will continue to work on someday having a justice system, not just a legal system.

Sincerely,

Julie Hedden


Letter 1 from JL Hobgood:

I recently heard a debate between Arwen Bird and Professor Doug Beloof regarding the Ballot Measures for victims rights. I was outraged by the propaganda spewing from Ms. Bird. I would like to share my experience.

Last year, my father was brutally beaten by a man half his age. The man tried to kill my father and was very vocal about it to the 911 operator. By the grace of God, my father survived this attack, but was permanently injured.

THEN CAME THE TRIAL. Our family endured a yearís worth of the judicial system at its finest. It was insulting for us and slanted in every respect for the defendant. We were humiliated and attacked by the defense attorney and treated with total disregard and disrespect from the Judge.

Believe me, if you are a victim of violent crime, you pray for two things.

1. A fair and impartial Judge (especially if it is a trial without a jury).

2. An aggressive prosecutor with as many tools available to them as the defense team.

Itís only fair to re-balance the scale of rights. Victims need to be afforded the same dignity and rights the defendant enjoys. Letís replace politics for justice in our "Judicial System".

FACT: Most counties in Oregon do not have a pool of "lowly paid" public defenders. The public defenders are drawn from a pool of the finest defense lawyers the county has to offer. These high-powered, highly skilled attorneys are the ones defending against the "lowly paid" prosecutors.

I STRONGLY URGE A YES VOTE FOR VICTIMS RIGHTS.

J L Hobgood

Mulino OR


Letter 2 from JL Hobgood:

IMAGINE being transported at high speed to the nearest trauma unit 30 miles away. Blood pooling on the floor as it flows freely from you injuries, at your wifeís feet. Your life in the hands of god and the paramedic team transporting you. If the blood clot on your brain continues to enlarge or breaks loose, you will most certainly die.

NOW -- IMAGINE the individual who has threatened your life and responsible for your injuries is released from jail, pending trial, without bail.

THIS VERY THING HAPPENED TO MY FAMILY. The defendant was arrested and bail was set at one million dollars. Then, to our dismay, a judge in Clackamas County released him on his own recognizance pending trial.

--Would the perpetrator return to finish the job?

--How could we hope to have a decent nights sleep?

--How could we afford protection on a modest salary?

UNFORTUNATELY, OUR CASE IS NOT UNIQUE. There are numerous instances where the defendant leaves jail and continues to ravage their victim.

THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

DONíT BE FOOLED BY THE OPPOSING PROPAGANDA. VOTE YES FOR CRIME VICTIMS!

(JL Hobgood's father Bill was nearly killed in a 1998 assault.)


A letter from Donna Mainord:

Measure #71 - "Limits Release of Accused to Protect the Public"

Once more "Spin" has been handed out to the voters on another Measure meant to protect them.

I want you to imagine that you have become a Victim. You have been beaten. Your nose is broke, a couple teeth have been knocked loose, a rib is broken. And as you lay on the floor, the person who has been hurting you tells you "I'll kill you next time!"

The police arrive. You're taken to a hospital, a report is filed, the person who hurt you so bad is taken into custody. He has a record. And since he always shows up for Court, he's considered a low flight risk and is released under his own recognizance. He's not to talk to you, or go near you . . . And you get a phone call "I'll kill you nex time!"

How would you feel if this happened to you? How would you feel if this was happening to your daughter or sister?

Unfortunately, we have a tragedy where a woman was murdered by her estranged boyfriend. She did everything right. He told her he would kill her. Other people knew he would kill her. But the Law could not keep him in jail because we do not have this Law on our Books.

This Measure isn't for the car thief or the shoplifter. This Measure is for those people who hurt. The one's that hurt over and over again.

How would you feel if the person who threatened to hurt you . . . to kill you, was back on the streets 2 hours after being arrested?

Vote "YES" on Measure #71 and let's keep people safe.

Donna Mainord - Crime Victims United

Donna Mainord is a survivor of an attempted murder.


Statement of Bill Mason, jury foreman:

Measure 72: 11-1 Guilty Verdict in Non-Capital Murder Cases

In Oregon, a jury can acquit a person accused of any crime, including murder, by a 10-2 vote. A single juror who claims to have a reasonable doubt can clear the accused of the murder charge, in which case the jury then considers the charge of manslaughter.

The case of Andrew Whitaker exemplifies this situation. On October 21, 1992, Mr. Whitaker intentionally ran over and killed 12-year old Lisa Doell. Because one juror would not listen to the facts or follow the law, Mr. Whitaker was cleared of murder and convicted instead of manslaughter. He served 28 months in detention and was freed.

Here is what the foreman of the jury said on a recent Town Hall program:

I sat on a murder jury 6 years ago and sat with 11 other people who were instructed by the courts to honestly weigh the facts and forget their own opinions and listen to the facts. And we sat and listened to facts for three weeks. We listened to the defendant say that they purposely killed somebody. We listened to the defendant's friends who had firsthand information that came from that defendant where he bragged about it, he wrote books where he talked about violently killing people and stalking people. This defendant stated clearly that he purposely murdered the person and we listened to that.

We weren't allowed to talk about it. That's the system. We went to deliberation and we talked for three days. We thought all of the jurors were obeying the rules, they were really honestly debating the facts and weighing them.

We found in the end that there was one person that would have never, from day one, she had a fixation, this was a poor young boy who couldn't have done this, even though she listened to the police tapes where he admitted doing it, where we were read these terrible books where he talked about murdering people, she would not believe that this person was capable of doing it and because of that she would not return a vote of guilty.

Statement of Bill Mason, the jury foreman in the Andrew Whitaker murder trial.

Measure 72 will prevent this kind of travesty from happening again. Please vote Yes for Measure 72.

Please vote Yes for all of the crime victims' measures, 69-75.

(Information compiled by Howard Rodstein, Crime Victims United)


A statement from Debra Oyamada:

To the Editor

I joined Crime Victims United and Parents of Murdered Children shortly after a complete stranger murdered my husband and stabbed me nearly 5 years ago. Iíve experienced the justice system as a victim. If it werenít for these groups, who have tirelessly worked for victimsí rights for years, my experience wouldíve been much worse. These groups helped put Measures 69-75 on the ballot.

The group that's against these measures and portrays itself as a victims' group has been in existence for six months.. Theyíre funded by criminal defense lawyers and the ACLU. Theyíre making ludicrous statements saying these measures would lead to the early release of prisoners, strip victims of rights, etc. Clearly, they must think Oregonians are stupid because if those claims were true, why would the people who have fought for and won rights for victims advocate these measures?

Vote yes on Measures 69-75.

Debra Oyamada

Portland, Oregon

Debra was stabbed and her husband Andrew was stabbed to death by a man who was released on parole after serving 6 months of a 5 year sentence for stabbing a person.


Letter 2 from Howard Rodstein:

Is Our Justice System Balanced?

Oregonians are now voting on seven ballot measures which will bring much-needed balance to our justice system, putting the rights of crime victims in the Oregon Constitution alongside the rights of criminal defendants and convicted criminals.

Opponents of these measure say that the system is already in balance. I'm afraid not.

Is it balanced when a criminal can permanently injure an innocent person and then be given 127 years to pay restitution? Measure 69 restores balance by requiring prompt restitution and confers other important procedural rights.

Current law protects criminal defendants from incompetent or biased judges by giving them the right to a trial by jury. What protects crime victims from incompetent or biased judges? Measure 70 restores balance by giving the victim the right to a jury trial.

Is it balanced when a man can kidnap and torture an innocent person, be released on bail, and then go back and murder his original victim. This happened not long ago in Oregon. Measure 71 restores balance by requiring that judges deny bail when there is clear and convincing evidence that the criminal defendant is a danger to the victim or to the public.

Is it balanced when one juror, ignoring all evidence and instructions from the judge, can block a murder conviction, allowing a murderer to go free after serving less than three years? Is it balanced when it takes a 12-0 verdict to convict but a 10-2 verdict to acquit. Measure 72 restores balance by allowing an 11-1 conviction in non-capital murder cases.

Is it balanced when a person involved in a crime can receive complete immunity from prosecution even if, later on and by independently gather evidence, it is shown that he committed the crime? Measure 73 restores balance by eliminating complete immunity while maintaining the guarantee against self-incrimination, bringing Oregon in line with virtually every other state in the country.

Is it balanced when a person can be paroled after serving just 6 months of a five year sentence for a stabbing, and then go out and murder two people? Measure 74 restores balance by requiring that convicted criminals actually serve the sentence announced in open court.

Opponents of these measures say that they do nothing for crime victims. This is wrong. Measure 69 conveys critical procedural rights to victims. Provisions such as these have been approved by voters in 31 states by margins ranging from 56 to 93 percent. Measure 70 grants victims the right to a jury trial, without which they have no protection against a biased judge. Measure 71 gives victims the right to not be killed by their perpetrators. Measure 74 gives victims the right to know that they are safe from their perpetrators for a definite amount of time. Measure 75 gives victims the right to have their case judged by people who have shown respect for the law.

Opponents of these measures are using far-fetched arguments in an attempt to scare you. Don't be fooled. According to them, if you pass these measure, Oregon will be a police state. But the vast majority of the provisions in these measures are in effect in many other states in this country. In fact, these very provisions were in effect in Oregon in 1997 before the Oregon Supreme Court threw them out on narrow technical grounds.

You have a chance to save the life of an innocent person - someone across the state, across town, across the street, or even closer to home. Please make the best of this chance. Vote for Measures 69-75.

Howard Rodstein, October 21, 1999

Member, Crime Victims United


A letter from Steve Simons:

To The Editor:

Here we go again voting for something the people have already passed with a 59% vote. Measure 40 before and now measures 69-75.

As the husband of a family who has been victimized, it is almost beyond belief how much our life has been turned upside down. We have been wrenched in all directions.

First the death, the funeral, the grieving, the depression and then the trial. Here, we find justice through a juryís decision for conviction.

Now the unbelievable starts. The judge decides he doesnít have to follow constitutional law or stature law.

A convicted killer is now free.

I pray no family will ever suffer a loss to violence but unless you have been there you can not know how tough it is to nearly lose your whole family.

Please protect your family. Vote yes on measures 69-75. Donít be victimized by anyone.

Steve Simons

Steve Simons brother-in-law, Duane Hayes, was killed on May 11, 1997. Because the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the victimís right to a jury trial on narrow technical grounds, the killer is free today.


October 26 Letters