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Kroger backs alternative to crime measure July 19, 2008

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Having won both major-party nominations for attorney general, John Kroger is turning his sights on opposing one ballot measure and supporting another aimed at property and drug criminals.

Kroger said Wednesday that he opposes an initiative proposed by former legislator Kevin Mannix of Salem, who wants to extend mandatory minimum prison sentences to first-time property and drug offenders. Kroger supports an alternative written by the Legislature to focus on repeat offenders and drug treatment.

"I believe people who are committing repeat property offenses need to be held accountable," Kroger said at a Marion County DemoForum luncheon.

"But the reason I am passionate about this (legislative measure) is that in the long term, if we want to reduce the crime rate and spend less on prisons, we have to have a first-rate drug-treatment program in this state. It’s the No. 1 priority for law enforcement, and this is a good start."

In winning the Democratic primary May 20 — and enough write-in votes to make him the Republican nominee — Kroger campaigned on expanding drug treatment, which the attorney general is not in charge of.

But Kroger said effective treatment must be combined with enforcement if Oregon is to deal with the consequences of methamphetamine, such as property crimes and dislocation of families.

Kroger hopes to use his campaign soapbox, and his experience as a federal prosecutor, to persuade Oregon voters to reject Mannix’s measure and approve the Legislature’s.

Both measures will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, although numbers have not been assigned. If voters pass both, the one with more votes prevails.

Mannix’s measure proposes mandatory minimum prison terms, starting at three years, for first-time property and drug offenders. It’s modeled on his 1994 proposal for violent criminals. Since Measure 11 took effect in 1995, the state’s prison population has doubled to 13,500 inmates.

The Legislature’s measure would increase prison terms for repeat offenders but also require more comprehensive drug treatment.




1. VickyG63 - July 23, 2008

Measure 11 does not fit all teen agers in Oregon. It does not adapt to the needs of kids with mental health problems who are easily coerced into commiting crimes by their peers. This law either needs to be adapted for issues such as this – or completely thrown out.I am asking the Oregon legislature for change on this law for teenagers as described above. Some or most of these teens do not even understand why they are being put away for such a long,long time. They do not have the capacity to learn from this law. If anyone else has answers please let me know.I am seeing this law happen firsthand and it so horrible. In fact the victim thought it was a joke. The defendant was coerced by one of his peers because he is mentally unable to understand the implications of his actions. No one was murdered -no one was assaulted -it is not a sex crime. Why are they trying to send this developmentally disabled boy away for 7 years? This will not help the boy, it will only do more harm. I ask that anyone who agrees that this law be changed to fit the needs of these kids described above, please write the Oregon Legislature. Too many years have gone by and the man who wrote this law has not had to experience it first hand. Any one who experiences this law and has a developmentally disabled child who is affected by this law, please help me to ask for it to be thrown away, or at least adapted to fit the needs of these kids. Throwing them in prison for 5 to 7 years will not help, it may cause more problems for society in the long run.

2. M - September 24, 2008

Measure 11 has turned out to be a great career promotion tool for DA’s who measure success by conviction rates. The easiest way to ensure a conviction is to slap a measure 11 felony charge on someone and get him or her to plea down to a lesser crime -often a misdemeanor. The DA has the “tough on crime” notch on his belt for election time. Who would risk a mandatory minimum sentence by going to trial -even the innocent acting in self-defense -if you could take a “sure deal” with a slap on the wrist penalty through a plea? Trials often get down to two versions of a story -and only one can prevail -so what is 5-7 years of your life worth (the lesser measure 11 crimes)? It’s dirty dealing and an erosion of our civil rights. Judges see these dirty deals all the time and are powerless to stop them. Wake up Oregon!

Once you give away your rights… you’re not likely to get them back.