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Attorney General race raises questions about Measure 11 April 12, 2012

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

When Oregonians turn in their ballots this May they will elect a new top law enforcement official – the state attorney general.

As we approach the election, a debate is raging at the highest levels over the candidate’s stances on Measure 11, which imposes mandatory sentences for certain crimes.

One camp thinks the voter-approved law costs too much, while the other side thinks keeping violent criminals locked for long periods of time is the best way to keep our communities safe.

Candidate Ellen Rosenblum has found herself at the center of the debate as people question her position on the issue.

Amateur video shows Rosenblum speaking last month to the Multnomah County Prosecuting Attorney’s Association. She was asked whether she would support attempts to undo Measure 11.

“I’m not leaning at all towards severely weakening Measure 11,” she said.

Rosenblum is a long-time judge who served on the state appeals court. She talked about how Measure 11 took power away from judges to use discretion in sentencing violent criminals.

“You never heard me saying this was a terrible thing, we’ve had all our discretion taken away from us. That’s just not how I ever felt about it,” she said in the video.

But two days later, Rosenblum addressed Democrats in Washington County. There is an audio recording of that speech.

“I liked it a lot better pre-Measure 11 and the reason was it gave judges discretion to look at who a person was,” she said on the recording.

“I sometimes wondered why I was even sentencing the defendant in a case because the sentence was already kind of a done deal and it took the discretion away from judges,” she added.

We asked Rosenblum for an interview, but she only agreed to send us a prepared statement:

“As a trial court judge, I have imposed Measure 11 sentences, and I have a history of affirming Measure 11 convictions as an appellate court judge. As Attorney General, I will protect Oregonians by holding criminals accountable and making sure violent and sexual offenders are where they belong – behind bars.

“I want to clarify that my position on Measure 11 has not changed. It is critical that we take a tough stance on crime, but I am open to examining new ways of doing so that ensure that our scarce government resources are being used wisely.

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1. Maridell Moore - June 8, 2012

I feel that the judges should have the last word. If that had been the case in my sons trial, he would not have been convicted for something he didn’t do. The judge did not agree with the jury but had to convict because of Measure 11. The child who was told to lie by her father has since admitted that everything was a lie, but the TRUTH has no bearing on the sentence he received or the time he has had to serve or the ruined live he will have to live when released. All because the judges hands were tied at sentencing. Measure 11 needs a major overhaul!!!

2. Liliana Dickenson - July 9, 2012

There is an issue not yet discussed: many cases are placed under measure 11 that should not be there. My son, a 100% disabled veteran, suffering from schyzophrenia, which symptoms appeared while he was in the US Army in 1997. The diagnose was made in Feb 1998, after a discharge in Jul 1997 and being left with less than $60 in his pocket to make his way home from GA to OR. The VA Hosp in Portland treated him, but was not very good at proactively review the medication to address symptoms which increase as the illness progresses (sometimes up to age 45). My son is now 35. Late 2008 I observe paranoia and hallucinations were increasing and requested many times since reviews of his medications (since my husband’s death in 2003, I have been the legal guardian and the OR DVA has been the conservator and fiduciary.) After a major setback in Oct 2009 the VA Hosp had the opportunity to review the medications and did not do it, instead my son was taken off seeing a psychiatrist, and placed under a nurse practitioner…..by January 2011 his paranoia was full blown, on the first weekend that year the Woodburn PD had me leave my home instead of helping me secure my son to be taken via ambulance to the ER at the VA Hosp, by Jan 17 my son was arrested because – as I found later via the OSH – my son suffered of advanced paranoia and hallucinations due to a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by the insufficient medication as prescribed by the VA Hosp. My son stayed 2/11/11 till 6/4/12 at the OSH under measure 11 (kidnapping and assault are the charges) – he could not have intentionally done a thing because of the chemical imbalance in the brain, but thanks to an incompetent lawyer, who the fiduciary/conservator refused to rid of (even when the man turned in a resignation at my request) my son still has that incompetent lawyer. Nov 2011 I hired one lawyer to stop the OR DVA from violating fed statutes and using my son’s savings to pay OSH med expenses, instead of properly billing the Fed VA. Shortly thereafter I hired another lawyer to help me move my son ASAP away from OSH and avoid jail because two doctors at OSH recommended to keep my son out of OSH to avoid institutionalization (damaging and a step back to his treatment), and avoid jail (since he was a paranoia case, he was in a self-defense mode and he would feel unfairly judged for a crime he did not commit and psychologically damaging to his self-esteem).
Most recently the judge decided my son should be moved ASAP from jail (he’s being there since 6/4/12) to a care home I found to be secure and wanting to receive my son. However the court order is being stop by the DA who is of the opinion that I, being the assumed Measure 11 victin, cannot be the one to continue to see my son and accompany him – as the care home requests – to ensure he resumes treatment and meds by the VA Hosp in Portland (meds have been totally revamped and changed by OSH and are very expensive, I have no recourse than to depend on VA Hosp for future refills, if they eventually approve the meds prescribed by OSH) The process to re-admit my son for care at VA Hosp takes 8 weeks and the jail is to supply the meds until the VA Hosp pharmacy can take over the future meds (be the same or others). The issue is I have been the one instrumental to help doctors eventually find meds for my son from Feb 2011 to Oct 2011 when we found the successful meds, I visited him weekly and bi-weekly as time could allow (I am an ordained minister). The DA is stopping his move from jail to the care home on an opinion not based on facts, facts the incompetent lawyer should have opportunity to present, instead of robbing my son of his savings. I can give prove (medical records + more) and details, but no-one wants to listen. I can even prove the incompetent lawyer committed libel. I am seriously considering to contact the news media on this…do you have any suggestions?