The Facts of the Brian Lawler Case


Cathi Lawler is a chief petitioner of Measure 94, the ballot measure to repeal Measure 11 and slash sentences for violent crimes in Oregon. She is the mother of Brian Lawler.

Brian Lawler had been involved in gang activity, had been arrested, and was well known to the local police prior to the crime even though he had never been convicted of a crime.

On May 5, 1995 Brian Lawler, after learning a rival gang member was nearby, armed himself with a baseball bat and convinced two of his friends to go and confront the rival. One of the friends was armed with a mallet handle.

When the rival could not be located Lawler and his two friends wandered onto the Mount Hood Community College campus.

Evan Gardner and Dave Clarke, two MHCC students active in student government and activities, were in an abandoned barn in an isolated area of the campus. They were surveying the barn and surrounding area as a possible location for a student recreational complex. Clarke was student body treasurer and a straight A student. Gardner was a wilderness guide in charge of the school outdoor program.

Lawler and his friends contacted them and had a brief friendly conversation. Then, as Clarke and Gardner were leaving the area by walking down a deserted dirt road, at Lawler's urging he and his friends attacked Clarke and Gardner from behind. Lawler struck Clarke in the head 3 times with his baseball bat while one of his friends hit Gardner with the mallet handle. Gardner's injuries were not serious, but Clarke suffered permanent brain and vision damage and suffers from epileptic-type seizures.

The day before he was to be sentenced, Lawler and his brother committed a burglary for which he was convicted of Aggravated Theft in the First Degree.

Lawler pled guilty to Assault I and Assault III. He received a 90 months sentence on Assault I and the judge sentenced him to 14 months consecutive for the Assault III and 12 consecutive for the Aggravated Theft. He can earn good time on both the consecutive sentences.

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