CVU Mailing List On Measure 94

CRIME VICTIMS UNITED


The following is an archive of the Crime Victims United Mailing List proceedings relating to Measure 94.


2/12/2000

There was a good letter in the Oregonian on Thursday. I have pasted the contents below. I also have sent an email to the author of the letter asking permission to put it on our web site (http://www.crimevictimsunited.org) and asking for his address so we can put him in our database.

I also spoke to a man named Larry Ward who wrote a letter in 12/97 and got permission to use his letter and to add his name to our mailing list. I am working on some others.

I have also added a comparison of Measure 11 sentences to pre-Measure 11. You can see this at:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/sentencingcomparison.htm

Howard Rodstein

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In answer to Cathi Lawler's letter opposing Measure 11 ("First-timers harshly punished," Feb. 4), let me clear a few things up for her.

That many offenders have never been convicted before does not mean that they have spent their lives singing in the church choir. Working at Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility, I see in every file arrest after arrest and suspended sentence after suspended sentence.

While these criminals and their enablers are crying for a "second chance," they've already had multiple chances.

Good citizens don't get themselves into the situation of being convicted of crimes, and good parents don't let their kids fall into that lifestyle.
My job with these incarcerated youth mostly involves undoing years of bad parenting. The only thing cruel and unusual is the sad future they've set their kids up for.

Robert Blacksmith
Salem


2/27/2000

I have sent the following email to Cara Roberts, who is working on an article on Measure 11 for the Albany Democrat Herald (http://www.mvonline.com/democrat_herald).

Howard Rodstein

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Dear Cara Roberts:

My name is Howard Rodstein. I'm a member of Crime Victims United.

I've heard from CVU member Donna Mainord that you are working on an article on Measure 11. There are a few points about Measure 11 that I would ask that you keep in mind. These are things that the voters of Oregon should know.

First, notwithstanding claims to the contrary, Measure 11 addresses serious crimes only. The crimes covered by Measure 11 are listed at
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/measure11sentences.htm

This web page includes the definition of each of the crimes as it appears in the Oregon Criminal Code. Anyone who takes a position on Measure 11 should know what these crimes are and what these laws are.

Stories about people serving Measure 11 for stealing two dollars or for "an ordinary fistfight", are apocryphal. You can see the minimum conditions for a Measure 11 conviction at:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/crimeseriousness.htm

Second, there is a lot of discussion of "first time offenders". It is one thing to argue that an offender should be given a break the first time he or she is convicted for stealing a car or for a drug offense. It is entirely another thing when the offender has inflicted irrevocable harm upon an innocent person, harm such as a permanent physical disability from an assault, a permanent psychological scar from a rape, or the loss of a life from a manslaughter or murder. In these cases, it is no consolation whatsoever that the offender is a "first time offender".

A large component of justice is the requirement that the punishment fit the crime. Justice demands that the offender receive no break in these cases. This issue is covered in more detail at:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/sentencingcomparison.htm

Third, many people are under the impression that youths aged 15 to 17 who have been convicted of Measure 11 crimes are sent to adult prison where they are "brutalized" (see http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/uris.htm). In fact, youths are sent to the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority, where they have an opportunity, if they take it, to receive an education, drug rehabilitation and extensive counseling. Offenders can remain at OYA until they reach 25 years of age. The only youths sent to adult prison are those who demonstrate that they are a danger to others or refuse to participate in programs, or who reach 18 years of age and elect to go to adult prison. The policies under which youths are transferred predates Measure 11.

Fourth, there is a lot of discussion of the cost of Measure 11. When Measure 11 appeared on the ballot in 1994, the voters were told that it would require the creation of an additional 6,095 prison beds by the year 2001. By October, 1999, The Oregon Department of Administrative Services' forecast of prison population put that number at 2,801 beds. The 2,801 figure includes 937 cases which the forecast calls "Measure 11-related" offenders. These are people convicted of non-Measure 11 crimes and who arguably should not be included in Measure 11's impact. At any rate, it is safe to say that the actual financial impact of Measure 11 has been less than half what voters implicitly approved when they approved Measure 11.

Although the amount of money spent is far less than some people believe, it is still a lot of money. This is the price we pay to maintain credibility in our criminal justice system and to afford innocent people the protection they deserve. This issue is covered in more detail at:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/prisonSpace.htm

Finally, if Measure 11 is repealed, many hundreds of current and thousands of future of violent criminals will have their sentences considerably reduced. It is certain that additional innocent people will be the victims. Many of the most serious crimes - assaults that leave people permanently impaired, rapes, and murders - are committed by people with serious prior records. This is documented at
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/issues/repeatoffenders.htm

We have sacrificed too many innocent people on the alter of leniency for serious criminals. Measure 11 has changed that, and we need to retain it.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


3/18/2000

Donna Mainord sent me a letter that was published in the Albany Democrat-Herald about Measure 11. I have added a discussion of this letter to our web page: http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/Measure11/Misrepresentations.htm

I am also sending a copy of this discussion to the editor of the Democrat-Herald and to the reporter, Cara Roberts, who recently wrote an article on Measure 11.

I have pasted my comments about this letter below.

Howard Rodstein

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An opponent of Measure 11 wrote a letter to the Albany Democrat-Herald,
which appeared on November 29, 1999. Part of the letter says:

I'd like to tell you a story. A young 19-year-old mother leaves Phoenix, Arizona, because she is being beaten by her boyfriend, so she gets on a bus and ends up in Oregon, no money and a
hungry baby. She does the unthinkable and shoplifts a bottle of formula to feed her hungry baby. Nothing else, just formula to feed her baby.

On the way out of the store a clerk grabs her; she has a natural reaction and pulls back, accidentally elbowing the clerk. Boom! You can find that woman today in prison for assault in the first degree (5 year, 10 month mandatory sentence), and where do you think her baby is? Right, the state got her.

The young woman had never broke the law before. Please help repeal Measure 11.

This story certainly sounds like a scathing indictment of Measure 11. But it is transparently bogus.

The 5 year, 10 month sentence is for Assault II, not Assault I as the letter states. You can see from the law on Assault II that a conviction requires that the accused:

(a) Intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another; or
(b) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or
(c) Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Do you seriously believe that a prosecutor would charge someone with Assault II for accidentally elbowing someone? And that a grand jury would vote to send this case to trial? And that a jury would vote to convict?

Furthermore, if the woman had been convicted for Assault II, as a first-time offender, she would be eligible for exemption from Measure 11 sentencing under the provisions of Senate Bill 1049.

There is something seriously wrong about the story told in the Democrat-Herald. No one who knows what crimes Measure 11 covers and how these crimes are defined would ever believe a misrepresentation like this. And yet, opponents of Measure 11 routinely tell such stories.


7/14/2000

The Oregon Secretary of State has certified the ballot measure to repeal Measure 11. It will appear on the November ballot as Measure 94.

If the repeal measure passes, minimum sentences will be slashed for the most serious violent crimes, including robbery, assault, kidnapping, rape, manslaughter, attempted murder, and murder. Over 3000 criminals sentenced under Measure 11 will be resentenced within 90 days of the election. Many hundreds will be released forthwith and many more will have their sentences sharply reduced.

If you would like to learn more about this, a good place to start is:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/measure11faq.htm

Howard Rodstein


8/12/2000

Today I sent the following to The Oregonian's editorial staff and crime reporters. Below that you will find a similar statement that I sent to the editor.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United

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Dear Oregonian Writer:

I appreciate very much your editorial of 8/11/2000 regarding the wisdom of withholding bail in certain criminal cases. What makes the case of the little boy whose throat was slashed by an accused molester on bail even more appalling than an "ordinary" horror is the fact that the state had the criminal defendant in custody and chose to release him.

This fall a similar decision will be made, except that it will affect not one violent criminal, but 3000. And the decision is not in the hands of a judge, but in the hands of the voters of Oregon. If Measure 11 is repealed, the sentences of a majority of the 3000 most violent criminals in the state will be reduced and many will be reduced by as much as one-third to one-half.

If these violent criminals are released early, some will commit crimes. Some will commit heinous crimes. But we can prevent this - if we will.

As a person in a position to influence the voters of Oregon, I implore you to keep in mind that the lives and limbs of innocent people hang in the balance.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United
www.crimevictimsunited.org

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To The Editor:

I appreciate very much your editorial of 8/11/2000 regarding the wisdom of withholding bail in certain criminal cases. What makes the case of the little boy whose throat was slashed by an accused molester on bail even more appalling than an "ordinary" horror is the fact that the state had the criminal defendant in custody and chose to release him.

This fall a similar decision will be made, except that it will affect not one violent criminal, but 3000. And the decision is not in the hands of a judge, but in the hands of the voters of Oregon. If Measure 11 is repealed, the sentences of a majority of the 3000 most violent criminals in the state will be reduced and many will be reduced by as much as one-third to one-half.

If these violent criminals are released early, some will commit crimes. Some will commit heinous crimes. But we can prevent this - if we will.

I implore the voters of Oregon to keep in mind that the lives and limbs of innocent people hang in the balance. I pray that they will reject Measure 94.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United
www.crimevictimsunited.org


8/14/2000

You may have seen Ann Landers' column on Measure 11 in today's Oregonian. I sent a letter to Ann Landers today. See below.

Howard Rodstein

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Dear Ms Landers:

Opponents of Measure 11 are disseminating false information about it. This is documented in detail in the attached material. I am writing to make sure that you have an accurate picture of Measure 11 because the lives of innocent people are at stake.

Earlier this year, an Oregon judge made a choice to release a man on bail who had sexually abused an 11-year-old boy. On July 11, that man molested a 10-year-old boy, slashed his throat and left him to die. Miraculously the boy survived.

This fall a similar decision will be made, except that it will affect not one violent criminal, but 3000. And the decision is not in the hands of a judge, but in the hands of the voters of Oregon. If Measure 11 is repealed, the sentences of a majority of the 3000 most violent criminals in the state will be reduced and many will be reduced by as much as one-third to one-half.

Among those criminals who would be released within 90 days of the election is the man who drugged and raped the nine-year-old daughter of my friend. Another is the youth who stabbed a woman 13 times and planned to kill her whole family. The man who murdered a 21 year-old-woman in front of her two-year-old son could be released in the year 2003 instead of 2020!

There is no way that Measure 11 will be repealed if the voters of Oregon receive an accurate picture of it. But if the media allows the misrepresentations of Measure 11 opponents to go without challenge and Measure 11 is repealed, we will see more cases like that of the 10-year-old boy, cases where innocent people's lives and limbs are squandered.

Please familiarize yourself with the enclosed material so that you will not be a part of this misrepresentation. For additional information and documentation, please visit the crimevictimsunited.org web site. Feel free to call me (503-635-2619) if you would like to discuss this matter.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United

Attachments: Letter from Susan Panek, Facts of Brian Lawler case, list of misrepresentations made by Measure 11 opponents, question and answers on Measure 11, comparison of Measure 11 sentences to sentencing guidelines sentences.


8/15/2000

Yesterday on Oregon Live there was an article by Deborah Dombrowski (http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/oped_week.ssf?/oped/00/08/ed081455.frame) that illustrated some serious misconceptions about Measure 11. Today I sent her the following reply.

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Dear Ms. Dombrowski:

I read your Oregon Live article on Measure 11 yesterday. The article exhibits many misconceptions about Measure 11. Opponents of Measure 11 have made many blatant misrepresentations about Measure 11. These are documented in the attached material. I fear that you have been misled.

The incident such as you describe in your article, a minor fistfight involving a "first-time offender", can not result in a Measure 11 sentence. The "least serious" Measure 11 assault is Assault in the Second Degree. I have attached the definition of Assault II from the Oregon Criminal Code. It requires one of the following:
Intentionally inflicted serious physical injury
Intentional injury by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon
Recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life

In order to be convicted for Assault II, a prosecutor would have to believe that the incident met this definition of Assault II, a grand jury would have to agree, and a judge or jury would have to agree. The incident that you cited does not come close.

Furthermore, even if the youth in your incident were convicted of Assault II, he would still not be sentenced under Measure 11. Under Senate Bill 1049, passed in 1997 with the support of Crime Victims United, the judge would have the authority to exempt the youth from Measure 11 sentencing altogether.

I would like to tell you about an Assault II that I am familiar with. The victim is the father of a friend. He was about 70 years old at the time. On October 18, 1998, a man in his early 40's beat him so severely that it cracked his skull, caused a blood clot in his brain, and left him in a coma. He was not expected to live, but thankfully did. He now has permanent hearing loss and many other maladies stemming from that attack. His attacker had no prior serious convictions and therefore is considered a "first-time offender", but he admitted to a psychologist that he had beaten up numerous people. This violent person was convicted of Assault II and sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison under Measure 11. If Measure 94 passes, he will be resentenced as a "first-time offender" and released next year after serving less than half his sentence.

In supporting Measure 94, you are advocating early release not only for people like this man, but for armed robbers, rapists, child molesters and murderers. I hope that you will reconsider your position.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United

Attachments: Definition of Assault II, description of Senate Bill 1049, list of misrepresentations made by Measure 11 opponents.


8/19/2000

Today's deception comes from Measure 11 opponent Donna Jackson of Albany, Oregon.

Ms. Jackson writes:

"Reading the letter in tonight's paper (Aug. 1) from Ted Bartz of Eugene about the injustice of what Measure 11 is doing to our youth, the first-time offenders, made me want to shout from the rooftops for all of us, the taxpayers, to stop and really take a look at what this new jail system is costing you and me, the taxpayers."

[ Ms. Jackson, Measure 11 has no impact on jails other than to keep people out of them by keeping them in the state prison. ]

"Measure 11 was supposed to give the repeat offender longer and harder sentences, not to be building all these new prisons for our youth, the first time offenders."

[ Ms. Jackson, Measure 11 was specifically written to set minimum sentences fo rrobbers, rapists, child abusers and killers regardless of their past criminal history. We aren't taking that excuse anymore. ]

"If we all knew the truth about how much it cost each of us to run all these prisons, and to think that they do not offer any rehabilitation of any kind for drugs, alcohol or other crimes that would help your youth to get back into our communities as good citizens."

[ Ms. Jackson, youth don't go to prison. They go to the Oregon Youth Authority. There they get education and every kind of treatment you can imagine. They can stay at OYA until age 25. The only way to get from OYA to prison is to attack someone, refuse to participate, or turn 18 and ask repeatedly. Any youth who wants to can emerge from OYA an educated good citizen. ]

"But please take time out and think about downsizing our prison system by voting yes on Measure 94. Repeal Measure 11; take the sentencing away from the DAs and put justice back into the courts, where the judge can and will look at each case."

[ Ms. Jackson, Sentencing Guidelines which Measure 94 restores gives judges very little discretion in most cases. For a 'first-time' offender who is convicted of murder, the range sentences available to the judge starts at 10 years and ends at 10 years and one month. Some discretion! ]

[ Ms. Jackson, please stop putting out these outrageous deceptions. The Crime Victims web page listing misrepresentations from Measure 94 proponents is already 8 pages long! Check out http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/misrepresentations.htm ]

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United

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POSTED: Saturday August 19, 2000 

Spend less on prisons and more on city needs

Reading the letter in tonight's paper (Aug. 1) from Ted Bartz of Eugene about the injustice of what Measure 11 is doing to our youth, the first-time offenders, made me want to shout from the rooftops for all of us, the taxpayers, to stop and really take a look at what this new jail system is costing you and me, the taxpayers. 

Measure 11 was supposed to give the repeat offender longer and harder sentences, not to be building all these new prisons for our youth, the first time offenders. 

If we all knew the truth about how much it cost each of us to run all these prisons, and to think that they do not offer any rehabilitation of any kind for drugs, alcohol or other crimes that would help your youth to get back into our communities as good citizens. Then medical, food, counseling and many other things, shall I say, "stink." 

It's hard to describe those things another way, but to repeat what was told to us by other families. Our tax dollar is not being used the way that was told to us. They use it in many other ways that we don't know about. We need to be told in writing the dollars and cents each division costs: Building maintenance, work force, food, clothing, medical, counseling and any and all expenditures that pertain to each prison operation. 

I also noticed in tonight's paper that the City Council is getting the budget ready to add to our property taxes for street improvement, to buy the aquatic center property, money to keep the library hours stable, street lighting, park upkeep, staffing the fire department and other recreation programs. 

Yes, many and all of these programs are necessary for our community's growth. But please take time out and think about downsizing our prison system by voting yes on Measure 94. Repeal Measure 11; take the sentencing away from the DAs and put justice back into the courts, where the judge can and will look at each case. 

Then and only then we will have the needed money for what we all want, a carefully run, beautiful city that we can all be proud of. 

DONNA JACKSON 

Albany


8/25/2000

To the Editor, Portland Mercury:

Your 8/24/2000 news article on Measure 11 and Measure 94 is riddled with inaccuracies.

"Proponents of Measure 94 point to stories about juveniles thrown into the system for petty crimes"

There are NO petty Measure 11 crimes. This is a fiction put out by Measure 94 proponents. See
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/crimeseriousness.htm

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"350 youths currently housed in adult penitentiaries for so-called Measure 11 crimes".

According to Department of Corrections figures issued on August 1, 2000, there are seven people under the age 18 in adult prison. They got there by assaulting other youth while in a youth facility.

All youth convicted of any crime, Measure 11 or not, go to the Oregon Youth Authority (http://www.ode.state.or.us/sped/spedareas/juvenile.htm). There they receive education, counseling and treatment. They can stay there until age 25 if they don't assault other youth and participate in treatment.

See http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/misrepresentations.htm#simon2

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"... categorized as armed robbery -- a crime that falls within the ambit of Measure 11. Although it was his first offense . . ."

If it is a first offense and if the offender did not put the victim in reasonable fear of physical injury, the offender can be exempted from Measure 11 by the judge.

See http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/crimes/sb1049.htm

Measure 94 proponents often use the term "first-time offender" even when the youth in question has many referrals to the juvenile court. The article about Ryan Carr in last week's Willamette Week is a case in point. The juvenile court authorities can provide information about juvenile referrals.

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You can find the following material on our web site by double-clicking the associated links:

A question and answer sheet on Measures 11 and 94:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/measure11faq.htm

A chart showing the effect of Measure 94 on sentences for violent crimes:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/sentencingcomparison.htm

A list of documented misrepresentations made by Measure 94 supporters:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/misrepresentations.htm

The text of Measure 94:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/repeal.htm

A document explaining the number of violent criminals who will be released within 90 days of the election if Measure 94 passes:
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/release.htm

Measure 94 is a disaster for all crime victims and law-abiding citizens. If Measure 94 passes, 800 to 1300 violent criminals will be released soon after the election. Among them is the man who raped my friend's 9-year-old daughter.

I hope that you will not allow your paper to perpetuate blatant misrepresentations put out by Measure 94 proponents.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


8/30/2000

Today's Oregonian leads with a story about a youth who got out of his Measure 11 sentence because he was 7 hours short of 15-years old when he committed his crime.

The youth stopped a perfect stranger and handcuffed him. He robbed him of money and then released him. Police found him armed with a loaded gun.

There are some problems with the Oregonian report.

First, the writer, Michelle Roberts, says that the youth spent his time in "prison". This is highly unlikely. It is almost certain that he spent his time at the Oregon Youth Authority. Ms. Roberts apparently can not or will not make this distinction, despite being told about it repeatedly.

Second, the article gives the impression that under Measure 94 sentencing, judges would have a tremendous amount of discretion. It is true that for juveniles, they would, because they could choose to keep the case in juvenile court or send it to adult court.

However, for adults, judges have very little discretion. For a "first-time offender" which this 14-year-old presumably was, the range of sentences for Robbery I is 34 to 36 months- about 2 years and 4 months after "good time". Although a judge can "depart" from the presumed range in specific circumstances, this is rarely done.

The proponents of Measure 94 are putting all of their hopes on trying to convince the public that judges have broad discretion under Measure 94. That is why one of the Measure 94 chief petitioners wrote a letter to the Oregonian implying that judges could choose from 10 to 22 years for murder. This is a deception. For a "first-time offender", the range is 10 years to 10 years and one month. The judge does not choose the sentence under Measure 94. The criminal chooses it by his prior conviction record. But Measure 94 proponents will never tell you this.

Finally, the Oregonian story is an excellent example of the good Measure 11 has done for "at-risk youth". The youth in question got his GED while at the Oregon Youth Authority and plans to attend college. The judge said he is "a young man of considerable ability". The youth said "all of my old friends are in prison".

This youth was just shy of 15 years old and yet he was armed with a loaded gun and he handcuffed and robbed an innocent passerby. Without Measure 11, he would have gone to juvenile court. He may have spent a few months at OYA. Then he would have been back on the streets with all his old friends. Had not spent 3 1/2 years at the Oregon Youth Authority, would he have his GED. Would he be headed to college? Unlikely.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/1/2000

Here is a longer form of a letter that I sent yesterday to The Oregonian.

Howard Rodstein

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I'm writing in response to letters from Measure 94 proponents about my July 18 opinion piece and my August 19 letter.

On July 29, Measure 94 chief petitioner Lorraine Heller responded by suggesting that, under her measure, a judge in a murder case would be "free to sentence within a specified range", which she gave as 10 to 22 years. She is misleading voters.

Under Measure 94, in most cases, it is the criminal who chooses the sentence by his prior record, not the judge. For most murder cases where the criminal has no prior serious convictions, the range of sentences available to the judge starts at 10 years and ends at 10 years and one month. The judge can give the 22 year sentence only if the criminal has three prior serious convictions.

On August 29, Kathy McLaughlin wrote that "if Measure 11 is repealed, all we know for certain is that judges will review the sentences of those convicted under its provisions". Measure 94 does not say that judges must "review" sentences. It says that that the convicted violent and sex offenders MUST BE RESENTENCED under the much more lenient Measure 94 system. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimates that 800 offenders will be released by Measure 94 within 90 days of the election. Based on reports from the Oregon Office of Economic Assessment, Crime Victims United estimates that 1300 will be released.

The proponents of Measure 94 are counting on the voters' lack of understanding of the Measure 94 sentencing system. Voters can find a detailed explanation of the system on the Crime Victims United web site, www.crimevictimsunited.org.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/4/2000

Crime Victims United submitted 20 arguments in opposition to Measure 94.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/5), the Secretary of State's office will make these, and all other arguments, public. However, I am told that they will not appear on the state's world-wide web site for several weeks. You have to go to the Elections Division in Salem to get them.

I feel that the arguments submitted by Crime Victims United are accurate and powerful and I hope that voters will read them carefully when the voter's pamphlet is published in October.

I would like to thank the many people who contributed arguments or who helped in other ways.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/8/2000

This is the text of a certified letter that I sent to Harry R. Carson today.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United
P.O. Box 1896
Lake Oswego, OR

Home: 635-2619
Work: 620-3001

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Mr. Harry R. Carson 9/8/2000
Washington County Public Defenders
400 East Main Street
Suite 210
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Dear Mr. Carson:

A letter that you wrote appeared in The Oregonian on 9/7/2000. In that letter, you claimed that "it is common in Multnomah and Washington counties for innocent Measure 11 defendants to plead guilty to reduced charges." Your implication is that people innocent of any crime are forced to plead guilty because of Measure 11.

In April of 1999, you made similar claims in a letter to The Oregonian. On April 13, 1999, Crime Victims United President Steve Doell spoke with you and asked you to provide substantiation for your claims. You failed to provide substantiation.

Once again, Crime Victims United asks you to provide substantiation. Please send us details on three cases in Multnomah County and three cases in Washington County in which innocent defendants pled guilty. Please provide enough documentation to allow us to substantiate the innocence of the defendants.

In your letter, you talk about "the fatal flaw in the reasoning of Measure 11 supporters." I can assure you, Mr. Carson, that Crime Victims United and supporters of Measure 11 in general have no interest in seeing innocent people convicted. If our reasoning is fatally flawed, show us the documentation.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/11/2000

Steve Doell and Jo Ann Bowman discussed Measure 94 on KXL radio today.

Here are some inaccuracies and misrepresentations made by Jo Ann Bowman:

Bowman: Assault II was added by the legislature.

Fact: Assault II was an original part of Measure 11. The legislature removed some Assault II cases from Measure 11.

Bowman: 33% of Measure 11 criminals are in for Assault II 

Fact: 10.8%

Bowman: You can get information that shows that the crime rate was going down before Measure 11 was passed.

Fact: 1989: 47000 person crimes, 1995: 55000 person crimes, 1998: 47000 person crimes

Bowman: People are in prison under Measure 11 for defending themselves.

Fact: Self-defense is always a legal defense.

Bowman: There are less than 10 people statewide who ever fell under Senate Bill 1049.

Fact: 28 people who committed crimes from 1995 through 1997 were removed from Measure 11 sentencing by SB 1049 relief. We don't have figures for 1998 to the present but it is reasonable to assume that the number for that period is similar. SB 1049 allows judges to exempt people from Measure 11 in some Assault II, Kidnapping II and Robbery II cases.

Bowman: I am not familiar with the details of Cathi Lawler's son's case.

Fact: She and you are co-chief sponsors of Measure 94. You have had years to familiarize yourself with the case. This explains how you come to your views on criminal justice - by ignoring the inconvenient details.

Bowman: He (Rashan Coley) pleaded to something less than Measure 11.

Fact: Rashan Coley plead to Robbery I, a Measure 11 crime.

Bowman: He (Rashan Coley) did not in fact have a weapon when he committed the crime.

Fact: The police report says he had a loaded gun 15 minutes after the crime was committed. The victim said he saw a gun. Coley's accomplice, whom Coley refused to name, dropped a .357 magnum in the vicinity.

Bowman: [paraphrasing] The Rashan Coley case illustrates a failure of Measure 11.

Fact: Rashan Coley from the September 2 Oregonian: "If I'd only done a year in prison, I know I'd probably be in jail right now on a different charge."


9/14/2000

Hi all,
The following is the text of the the letter to the editor I am sending to The Oregonian.
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(to the editor)

Concerning Rita Thomas' letter of 9/13 about the state prison and 'boys', I question the motives of Ms. Thomas for writing it and of The Oregonian for printing it. That was irresponsible journalism. She implied there was a boy in the penitentiary that was 14. Well, he wasn't!

There are no 14 year olds in the state pen. That's against the law!

Facts: All youth sentenced, Measure 11 or not, go to the Oregon Youth Authority, not adult prison, where they receive education, counseling and treatment. The only way they go to prison is when they assault another youth, refuse all treatment, or become 18 and insist on being transferred to adult prison.

As of August 1/00, there were exactly seven 'Measure 11 youths' in adult prison because they've been assaultive or incorrigible. They are segregated from adults.

Read the facts about Measure 11 at www.crimevictimsunited.org.

Please stop propagating fiction.

Debra Oyamada
Crime Victims United
Portland


9/17/2000

The Oregonian came out strongly in opposition to Measure 94 in an editorial today (9/17/2000).

As I write, they have not yet posted the editorial on Oregon Live, but later today you can se it at http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/

Howard Rodstein


9/21/2000
I have posted a list of misstatements made by Measure 94 proponents in their voter's pamphlet arguments. The misstatements range from factual errors to blatant misrepresentations. You can see these misstatements at:

http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure94/misstatements.htm

Arguments submitted by Crime Victims United can be found at:

http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure94/measure94arguments.htm

Misrepresentations made outside the voter's pamphlet are tracked at:

http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/misrepresentations.htm

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/21/2000

On 9/7/2000, a letter (http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/index.ssf?/oped/00/09/ed_cars907.frame) from Harry Carson appeared in The Oregonian in which he wrote:

"It is common in Multnomah and Washington counties for innocent Measure 11 defendants to plead guilty to reduced charges, nearly always requiring them to serve prison time."

This was the second time Mr. Carson made that charge in The Oregonian. Crime Victims United challenged him the first time, in April of 1999, and he provided no information to substantiate his claim.

After the 9/7/2000 article, we sent a registered letter to Mr. Carson asking him to substantiate his claim. He failed to do so.

Today, he called the Lars Larson show. I paraphrase what Mr. Carson said:

"A man named Mr. Kim came to a party at a restaurant and found a fight in progress. He tried to break it up. During the fight, someone was hit on the head with a bottle, causing a concussion and a trip to the hospital. Mr. Kim and three other people were charged with Assault II, a Measure 11 crime. Although he didn't want to and was innocent, Mr. Kim plead to a misdemeanor."

Mr. Carson did not say if Mr. Kim served time in prison. Time ran out before Lars Larson could fully question him.

First, according to Harry Carson, Mr. Kim was flat-out innocent. It is highly unlikely that a judge or jury would convict an obvioulsy guilty person for Assault II (http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/crimes/assault2.htm) in a case like this, not to mention a flat-out innocent person. Remember, the judge or jury must find the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So Mr. Carson's claim that Measure 11 bludgeoned Mr. Kim into a plea bargain is very dubious.

Second, the most serious misdemeanor assault is Assault IV. I am confident that there is no one serving prison time in Oregon just for Assault IV. It is so low on the sentencing scale that it does not even appear on the Oregon Sentencing Guidelines Grid.

For a "first-time offender", the sentence for Assault III (one degree higher than what Mr. Kim apparently pleaded to) is 3 to 6 months (less 80% good time). Such a sentence would be served in the county jail, not in prison. And this is Assault III, which is a felony, not the misdemeanor assault that Mr. Kim apparently pleaded to.

For this supposed travesty of justice, Mr. Carson would through out Measure 11 and see murderers' sentences reduced from 25 to 8 years.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United


9/23/2000

Below are excerpts from my Statesman-Journal / Oregon Public Broadcasting interview. The excerpts appeared in today's Statesman-Journal newspaper.

The full interview will run on OPB on Monday at 1 PM.

Howard Rodstein

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Today's News - September 23, 2000
CRIME VICTIMS UNITED FIGHTS MEASURE 94

OPPOSITION: Software developer Howard Rodstein is leading a campaign to defeat Measure 94, which would repeal an initiative that established mandatory minimum prison sentences. JAY REITER / Statesman Journal

Campaign leader defends mandatory sentencing law

The law has protected victims by keeping criminals in prison, Howard Rodstein says. 

Statesman Journal

Howard Rodstein joined Crime Victims United six years ago because of his concern for crime victims and his worries about repeat offenders. 

This year, the Lake Oswego software developer is stepping up his involvement in both issues by leading the state campaign to defeat a Nov. 7 initiative. 

Measure 94 would repeal Measure 11, the 1994 initiative which established mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of violent crimes. 

Measure 94 would require those already sentenced to be resentenced under 1989 guidelines that allowed state judges flexibility in handing down prison terms. The measure is sponsored by Citizens for Measure 11 Reform but is opposed by Crime Victims United and other advocates for crime victims. 

Rodstein discussed Measure 94 this week with reporters and editors. Excerpts follow: 

Question: Why shouldn't judges have more discretion in deciding how long people are sentenced to prison, as Measure 94 would allow? 

Answer: First of all, I want to point out that under Senate Bill 1049, which was passed and amended Measure 11, in cases of assault 2, robbery 2, and kidnapping 2, where there's no serious injury to the victim and where a dangerous weapon is not used, the judge has the discretion to drop completely out of Measure 11 and go back to the pre-existing sentencing guidelines. 

Secondly, and much more important, is that the Measure 94 sentencing system does not give judges any discretion in most cases. I want to read headlines that ran on Sept. 5 in the Statesman Journal. It says, 'Murderer served 8 years.' And 'Release of killer angers family.' The subheadline says, 'At the time of the sentence, the judge had no other choice.' And why is this? It's because the Measure 94 system sentence is almost exclusively based on the prior record of the criminal. 

If you are a murderer who has three prior person convictions, the judge can give you 22 years. But if you have no prior convictions, the range of sentences available to the judge starts at 10 years and ends at 10 years and one month. That is no kind of discretion. That's the Measure 94 sentencing system. 

Q: Can't voters express their dissatisfaction with lenient judges by removing them from office? 

A: That would be really great, and I'd be delighted with that except for a couple of things. No. 1, there are very few voters who even know who's running for judge in any election. One of the reasons for that is that the judges are prohibited from discussing the issues. So the voters can't even find out where judges stand on these issues. That's why the voters can't simply reject bad judges. Most of them are appointed when other judges retire and the appointed judges run for election unopposed. So that's not an option for the voters. 

Q: Violent crime has fallen nationwide, even in states without mandatory minimum prison sentences. So is it fair to attribute Oregon's drop in crime to Measure 11? 

A: Most states have increased sentences for violent crimes. The claim that the crime rate is dropping in states that have not increased rates, I haven't seen figures to back that up. Now, I agree that there is no way that we can prove that all of this reduction in crime in Oregon is due to Measure 11, but let's use some common sense. 

According to the state of Oregon's Office of Economic Analysis, there are 1,700 violent criminals and sex offenders who are in prison now who would not be there if Measure 11 were not in effect. Now, some of these people, if on the street, would have committed additional crimes. Some would have recruited impressionable youth into additional crimes. Some would have committed heinous crimes like some of the ones we've seen recently. 

So, I personally believe that Measure 11 is a major factor in this decrease in crime and I strongly believe that if we stick with it and we give it a firm vote of confidence, that it will continue to work for us and will save literally thousands of innocent people from the pain of violent crime. 

Q: Is Measure 11 without blemish or are some changes in order, especially in how it applies to juvenile offenders? 

A: We don't feel that Measure 11 is without blemish. We feel that it can be modified and can be improved through the Legislature. This was done in 1997 when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1049, which allowed judges to drop people in certain assault 2, robbery 2, kidnapping 2 cases out of Measure 11. In 1995, 1997 and 1999, in the Legislature, we have supported the idea of giving similar discretion to judges in the cases of age-related sex crimes. We're on the record of supporting that. 

There may be other modifications that will include Measure 11 and make it a better system. We're open to hearing all of them after the election. 

We are opposed to a second look for people who commit assaults, brutal assaults, people who commit rapes, people who molest children and people who murder innocent people. 

Q: Is it fair to say this debate comes down to who should have the most power in courtrooms prosecutors or defense attorneys? 

A: I think you can't leave victims out of that equation. I know a lot of victims. I've talked to a lot of victims. I know several people whose perpetrators would be released from prison, if not immediately then shortly, if Measure 94 passes. I know how these victims feel about Measure 11 and about having fitting punishment for the most violent crimes. 

And as a matter of fact, most of the district attorneys did not support Measure 11 when it was on the ballot, so I don't think you can characterize it as a struggle between district attorneys and defense attorneys. Really what it is, and what Measure 94 is, it's a struggle between victims of violent crimes and prosecutors who represent them in court. And on the other side, you've got people who have committed violent crimes, their families and the people who defend them in court. 

Q: Is your group satisfied by the lack of rehabilitation for inmates or is it enough to lock them up for as long as possible? 

A: No, it's not enough to have people locked up. I feel very strongly, and I know that the other members of Crime Victims United feel very strongly, that any prisoner who has a desire to become a better citizen and who has a determination to become a better citizen should be given all the help that we can give him. 

The proponents of Measure 94 would like you to believe that we have to make a choice between protecting ourselves from violent criminals now or preventing crime later. That is a false dichotomy. We can do both of these things, and in fact we are doing both of these things. 

The last Legislature passed Senate Bill 555. It allocates $30 million over two years for juvenile crime prevention. That $30 million is more money than we will spend on Measure 11 incarceration for juveniles who committed violent crimes. So we can have protection of innocent people and prevention of crime. 

Q: Can the state continue to afford to lock up people with mandatory minimum sentences? 

A: Well, let's go back to 1994 to the voters pamphlet. The explanatory statement said that Measure 11 would cost the taxpayers $200 million per year. The 2000 voters pamphlet said that it cost them $48 million per year. So Measure 11 is costing less than one-quarter of what voters approved in 1994. 

Forty-eight million dollars is a lot of money, but that comes down to $15 for each Oregonian. We spend more money on the lottery than that. And this $48 million does not include the cost savings from crimes that are prevented. In one case, the case of the Dallas, Oregon, boy whose throat was slashed by a child molester on bail, it took 20,000 police hours to solve that case. 

When you add the direct cost to the state, which is what the voters pamphlet covers, and the savings to taxpayers from less crime, I believe Measure 11 is a net savings and that savings is going to continue to increase as we continue to drive crime down. 

Statesman Journal


8/30/2000

Today's Oregonian contains an exceptionally powerful argument against Measure 94. You can see it at:

http://www.oregonlive.com/oped/index.ssf?/oped/00/09/ed092557.frame

I have also copied the text below.

Howard Rodstein
Crime Victims United

------------------------------------------

Does Measure 11 deter kids from committing crimes? 

Monday, September 25, 2000

By Dan Golden

Citizens face a decision in November about Oregon's response to violent crime. Passage of Measure 94 would repeal Measure 11. Voters passed Measure 11 in 1994 requiring courts to impose mandatory minimum sentences on criminals convicted of murder, rape, robbery, kidnaping, arson and assaults causing serious injury. The minimum sentence a court can impose is 70 months for serious assault and 300 months for murder. 

Juvenile arrests for violent crimes nearly doubled in Oregon between 1988 and 1994, according to Governor Kitzhaber's crime strategy report. Since passage of Measure 11, this rate has fallen by 25 percent. Measure 11 required that juveniles over the age of 15 accused of those violent crimes be charged, tried, and sentenced as adults if convicted.

Since 1994, 11 Klamath County juveniles have been convicted of Measure 11 offenses. This is a tiny percentage of the more than 9,000 cases referred to the Klamath County Juvenile Department during those years.

Is there a connection between the few juvenile convictions under Measure 11 and the dramatic drop in arrests of juveniles for violent offenses? Measure 94's supporters argue that Measure 11 unfairly convicts first time offenders instead of repeat offenders without a deterrent effect on juvenile delinquents. 

During the past months, I've conducted a survey of youths in juvenile detention. The youths were being held for probation violations and arrests for committing crimes. None were held on Measure 11 charges. Youths were not asked to supply their names on the forms and no information about Measure 11 was distributed. At the beginning, I supposed that most delinquents were ignorant or unaware of the law. The results surprised me. 

Are delinquent youth aware of Measure 11? 

Responses to the survey indicated that youth in juvenile detention were well aware of Measure 11. Eighty-five percent indicated that they had heard about Measure 11, and a similar percentage knew that Measure 11 applies to kids aged 15 to 18. Seventy-five percent knew some of the crimes Measure 11 applies to. 

Eighty percent knew that a juvenile charged under Measure 11 would go to trial in adult court. Significantly, 100 percent knew that Measure 11 means longer terms rather than shorter terms in lockup. When asked to write what they knew about Measure 11, one responded, "I know if you get charged with Measure 11 you will be locked for a long time." Another commented that "you can go to jail-jail." 

The survey asked delinquents, "knowing what you know about Measure 11, would you be more or less likely to commit a Measure 11 crime?" Eighty-five percent responded that they would be less likely to commit a Measure 11 offense.

When asked to write about how they would feel if Measure 11 were repealed, one responded, "I would feel more comfortable knowing that I have less of a chance to be locked up for long periods of time." Another wrote, "I would probably like it because I do lots of things that get me into trouble." One youth simply wrote, "happy."

Is Measure 11 punishing mostly first time offenders? 

Measure 94 supporters say they want to repeal Measure 11 because it punishes first time offenders rather than repeat offenders. Advocates of repeal have repeatedly claimed that the majority of Measure 11 defendants fit into the first time offender category. If this were true, Measure 11 could be portrayed as a failure at deterring significant numbers of repeat offenders from committing new crimes. 

The claims of Measure 94 supporters are based on information supplied by the Oregon Department of Corrections. The department tabulates felony convictions of inmates sent to prison on Measure 11 crimes, but not misdemeanors or juvenile offenses. Thus, an inmate with a misdemeanor or juvenile record could be counted as a "first time" offender if sent to prison on a Measure 11 conviction. 

Klamath County courts have sentenced 11 juveniles for Measure 11 offenses since the law was enacted. Under Corrections policy, all would be considered "first time" offenders, because their juvenile history would be overlooked. Yet, a check of their juvenile court records showed a different story. 

The record reveals that eight of the 11 Klamath County juveniles convicted of Measure 11 charges were repeat offenders, having been charged with crimes in earlier juvenile cases. Four had been charged with multiple felonies. Only three of the 11 juveniles were never charged before and were truly first time offenders when charged with Measure 11 crimes. Interestingly, those three were each charged and convicted of sexual crimes under Measure 11.

Therefore, it is unlikely that a majority of Measure 11 offenders identified by Corrections as "first time" offenders are truly first timers. Proponents of Measure 94 are distorting facts when they claim that Measure 11 mostly applies to first time offenders. If the Department of Corrections included misdemeanor and juvenile records most Measure 11 offenders would be recognized as repeat offenders. 

Measure 11 means deterrence

Since 1994, the Klamath County Juvenile Department has had over 9,000 new cases referred. During that same period just eleven Klamath County juveniles had been convicted of Measure 11 offenses. Despite the few numbers of juveniles convicted under Measure 11, the survey of youths in juvenile detention showed that 80 percent or more knew about Measure 11, knew that it applies to juveniles, and agreed that they would be less likely to commit a violent crime punishable as a result. 

This suggests that Measure 11 has had one of the effects intended by voters. Juvenile delinquents have heard the message: Oregon will not be lenient with violent offenders but will hold them strictly accountable for their actions. Thus, it is not surprising that juvenile arrests for violent crimes are down 25 percent in Oregon since passage of Measure 11.

Passage of Measure 94 would repeal Measure 11 and cause those already sentenced under Measure 11 to be re-sentenced under previous, more lenient standards. Many would be eligible for immediate release from custody. The message of deterrence reinforced by Measure 11 would be replaced by the message of leniency of Measure 94. This would make some, as one delinquent so eloquently put it, "happy." 

Citizens need to check the facts about Measure 94 and consider whether they would long share in the happiness. 

Dan Golden is assistant director of the Klamath County Juvenile Department.


9/26/2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 2000

Crime Victims United Challenges Pro-94 Voter's Pamphlet Arguments

(Lake Oswego) Crime Victims United is considering its legal options in response to numerous allegedly false statements made by Measure 94 proponents in the voter's pamphlet.

Among the statements that Crime Victims United labeled as false are one that says that four Measure 11 youth committed suicide, one that says the majority of youths serving mandatory sentences are in isolation, and one that claims a youth was sentenced under Measure 11 for lending his car to an acquaintance.

Steve Doell, president of Crime Victims United, said "We have looked into these and other statements made by Measure 94 proponents in the voter's pamphlet. They are flat-out false. Knowingly making a false statement in the voter's pamphlet is a violation of ORS 260.532 and we are considering legal action."

Doell said that the complete list of false statements made by Measure 94 proponents can be seen at http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure94/misstatements.htm.


10/1/2000 

The Eugene Register-Guard has taken a position against Measure 94. You can see it at:

http://www.registerguard.com/news/20001001/ed.edit.meas94.1001.html

or read it below.

Howard Rodstein

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 1, 2000

Measure 94 is a bad fix: Resentencing would put criminals on street

A Register-Guard Editorial

Measure 11, the tough sentencing law approved by two-thirds of voters in 1994, has been both a blessing and a curse. 

Violent offenders are serving significantly longer sentences than before Measure 11, and there is now a greater measure of uniformity in sentencing. Crime rates have steadily dropped since the measure went into effect. For the most part, district attorneys across the state have responsibly exercised the discretion that the measure shifted from judges to prosecutors.

Yet judges have been stripped of their ability to exercise much-needed discretion in individual cases. First-time offenders often unfairly serve the same hefty sentences as multiple offenders. District attorneys wield the heavy hammer of lengthy Measure 11 sentences to pound out record numbers of plea bargains. Juveniles as young as 15 are automatically sent to adult court, and minorities are more than twice as likely to be charged with Measure 11 crimes as nonminorities. 

Given its substantial flaws, it's easy to make a case for revamping Measure 11. Given its successes, it's hard to make the case for repealing Measure 11 and returning to former sentencing guidelines that were created largely to alleviate overcrowding in the state's prisons.

Measure 94 on the November ballot proposes doing just that - wiping out Measure 11 and reinstating the sentencing guidelines that Oregon voters rejected six years ago. 

The measure's supporters, many of them families and friends of criminals serving Measure 11 sentences, believe that the current guidelines are ill-conceived and their results draconian. But their own initiative proposal has those same faults. 

Measure 94's most glaring flaw is a requirement that state courts resentence every one of the 3,300 felons sentenced under Measure 11. Judges would have to resentence them within 90 days under the more lenient sentencing guidelines that were in effect before Measure 11 went into effect.

If ever there was a candidate for the Bad Idea Hall of Fame, this is it. The Oregon Criminal Justice Council estimates that 800 of these 3,300 criminals - many of them violent felons - would be immediately released. Nearly all of the rest would be resentenced to significantly reduced time in prison. 

Setting aside the frightening prospect of putting hundreds of hardened offenders on the streets, consider the chaos that resentencing would produce - courts swamped with mandatory resentencings and prosecutors scrambling to properly represent the public's interest. Consider the inequities as criminals originally sentenced under plea bargains are resentenced only on the counts on which they were convicted and not the original charges bargained away by prosecutors confident of tough Measure 11 sentences. Consider the trauma and sense of betrayal that would be experienced by victims and their families as new sentence hearings are held for the felons who devastated their lives. 

There's a far better answer for resolving Measure 11's flaws: Just fix them. It's revealing that Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, who opposed Measure 11 in 1994, now describes its hard-line sentences as "stern but just." Myers adamantly opposes Measure 94 and favors instead a thoughtful, substantive revision of Measure 11 by the Legislature. That's a practical idea - after all, Measure 11 is statutory and not part of the Oregon Constitution. It can be improved, even overhauled, and, in fact, already has been tweaked twice by state lawmakers. 

The process shouldn't stop there. It should include a comprehensive look at the patchwork quilt that is Oregon's overall sentencing process. Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad, who also opposes Measure 94, has lobbied for such a thorough review in which judges, police, corrections officials, legislators, victims and others would participate.

Oregon voters who are interested in meaningful sentencing reform should reject Measure 94.


10/3/2000

Governor Kitzhaber sent a letter to the District Attorneys in which he announced his opposition to Measure 94.

In doing so, he joins the Attorney General Hardy Myers, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry Jack Roberts, and the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Lynn Snodgrass in opposing Measure 94.

Howard Rodstein


10/5/2000

From the Salem Statesman Journal:

Opinion - Editorials - October 5, 2000
OUR VIEWS
Measure 94 doesn't solve any problems

Overturning the mandatory sentencing law likely would free 800 felons. 

Oregon doesn't have a perfect system for dealing with crime and punishment.

But Measure 94, which rolls back tough voter-approved penalties, won't fix the system's flaws.

Here's the worst of it: If the measure passes, about 3,300 felons sentenced under 1994's Measure 11 would be sent back to counties for resentencing within 90 days. About 800 likely would walk free immediately, having done their time under pre-Measure 11 guidelines. 

That is reason enough to defeat Measure 94. If you need more, read on. 

When Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 11, they endorsed clear sentences no time off for good behavior for violent crimes ranging from assault to murder. 

Backers of the current measure say that vote shifted power from judges to district attorneys, since prosecutors can use Measure 11's heavy sentences as a threat to encourage plea-bargaining. They also feel the sentences are unduly harsh, especially when applied to youths of 15, 16 and 17.

It's true that Measure 11 substituted a preset formula for some measure of judicial wisdom. But previous sentencing guidelines didn't give judges much discretion either.

Besides, the old sentences were too lenient. Under Measure 11, someone convicted of murder spends 25 years in prison, instead of an average of less than nine. Those convicted of first-degree rape serve eight years, four months, instead of an average of less than three years. 

If Measure 94 passes, those old sentences will once more be the rule. 

The Statesman Journal editorial board endorsed Measure 11, with reservations, in 1994. The expense of building more prison space for Measure 11 offenders, a major stumbling block at the time, has been substantial but far less than expected.

Both sides can agree that it makes sense to spend money to keep young people on the right path instead of locking them up. But we don't need to repeal Measure 11 to do that. The Legislature took a strong stand last session by putting more money into youth crime prevention; continued efforts are needed.

And though stiffer sentences have kept many of Oregon's criminals out of circulation, that's not enough. The Legislature must do more to provide education, work training, care for the mentally ill, and counseling for addicts and sexual offenders while they're in prison or youth facilities.

Lawmakers also should revive last session's effort to allow a 'second look' to evaluate the rehabilitation progress of juveniles sentenced under adult laws.

Some problems with Measure 11 have been resolved by tweaking in the Legislature, and more changes may be needed. That's a good argument for ballot measures that change state law, as Measure 11 did; the current fashion of enshrining them in the Oregon Constitution makes glitches nearly impossible to fix.

The Statesman Journal editorial board recommends a 'no' vote on Measure 94.


Medford Mail Tribune, October 6, 2000

Fix 11, don't repeal it

Measure 11, the mandatory minimum sentence measure passed by voters in 1994, is flawed. Even its author, Kevin Mannix, acknowledges that it needs to be modified. 

But Measure 94, which would repeal Measure 11, goes too far, undoing the good with the bad with no regard for public safety or the chaos it would create in the court system. 

Voters should reject Measure 94. Then the 2001 Legislature should move promptly to fix the obvious flaws in the current sentencing laws.

Proponents of Measure 94 argue that the law is too harsh, particularly in dealing with juveniles ages 15-17, who can be sentenced under Measure 11 guidelines. They echo long-held criticisms that Measure 11 takes sentencing out of the hands of judges and puts it into the hands of prosecutors, since there is no option for reducing a sentence connected to a Measure 11 crime. 

Had Measure 94's focus been limited to providing more flexibility in dealing with juveniles or to giving judges some leeway in sentencing, we could have supported it. But, instead, its supporters went for total repeal.

That would mean a return to previous sentencing guidelines. Minimum sentences for murder would be dropped from 25 years to 10 years - or even less if a judge decided circumstances warranted it. First-degree robbery would drop from 7* years to less than three years. Rape would drop from eight years and four months to less than three years. 

That's unacceptable, as is the fact that an estimated 3,000 convicted felons would have to be resentenced, with perhaps as many as a third being released for time served. From a practical standpoint, that would bring our judicial system to a standstill. From a public safety standpoint, it would put more Oregonians at risk.

The mandatory sentencing law should be fixed. But it should not be repealed. Vote no on Measure 94.


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