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Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, Measure 73 (2010) September 20, 2010

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, Measure 73, will appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. The initiative proposes requiring an increased minimum sentence for some sex crimes and repeat DUIs.

More specifically, the initiative would set a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for repeat offenders of any four felony sex crimes. Additionally, it would require a 90-day jail term for a third drunk-driving conviction. The conviction would also be considered a Class C felony if the previous convictions were within the past 10 years.[1]

The measure was certified for the ballot on July 16 by the Oregon Secretary of State. According to reports, of the 136,674 signatures filed for verification, 93,223 or 68.2% were validated. A minimum of 82,769 were required to qualify for the statewide ballot.[2]

Text of measure


The ballot title reads as follows:[3]

Requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, incarceration for repeated driving under influence.

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote increases minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes (300 months), imposes minimum incarceration sentence for certain repeated driving under influence convictions (90 days).

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote retains mandatory-minimum sentences of 70 to 100 months for certain sex crimes, provides no mandatory-minimum incarceration sentence for driving under influence.


According to the description prepared by the Oregon Secretary of State:

Current law imposes mandatory-minimum sentences of 70 to 100 months for certain sex crimes; no mandatory-minimum incarceration sentence for driving under influence of intoxicants (DUII). Measure imposes mandatory-minimum sentence of 300 months for person convicted of “major felony sex crime” if previously convicted of major felony sex crime; defines “major felony sex crime” as first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, using child in sexually explicit display; previous conviction includes statutory counterpart in another jurisdiction, and separate criminal episode in same sentencing proceeding. Measure makes DUII a class C felony if defendant previously convicted of DUII, or statutory counterpart, at least twice in prior 10 years; imposes mandatory-minimum sentence of 90 days, at state expense. Other provisions.

Reports and analysis

Oregon Citizen Initiative Review

On August 13, 2010 the panel announced their findings on Measure 73. According to reports, 21 of the 24 panelists opposed the proposed measure citing that it would cost too much and limit judges’ power. Of the three that supported the measure, they said the harsher penalties could help deter crime and increase public safety.[4][5]

The statements by the majority of the panel, those in favor and those opposed can be read here.

The panel consists of 24 randomly selected citizens. According to reports, organizer Healthy Democracy Oregon said that the panel includes a cross-section of age, ethnicity and party affiliation. The group will hear arguments for and against a proposed ballot measure. At the end of each week, the panel offers a statement based on the hearings and arguments presented during the week.[6] The crafted statements by the panel are printed on the state’s voters’ pamphlet.[7]

In 2009 the Oregon State Legislature endorsed the Citizen Initiative Review as a pilot project. According to Healthy Democracy Oregon, organizers of the project, no state tax money is involved in the process. The total cost is estimated at $150,000 and is funded through grants and private donations. The project is evaluated by a team from the University of Washington.[7]

Response to review

Opponent of the proposed measure, Gail Meyer of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said she thought the process was successful and provided voters a new level of exposure to all of the details of a ballot measure.[8]

However, not everybody agreed the process worked well. Former Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad, of the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, said the process was flawed. Harcleroad argues that misleading and inaccurate information was provided to the panelists and not enough time was made available to counter the misinformation.[8] According to an article published on OregonCatalyst.com, the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance argues that there are numerous other flaws in the process. Such cited flaws include: unbalanced background witnesses, limited search for information due to poor time allocation, and the accuracy of information was questionable.[9]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures, 2010



See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
August 18-21, 2010 Grove Insight 62% 21% 16% 600

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

Initiative petitions for statutes required six percent of 1,379,475, or 82,769 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010. According to reports, initiative supporters had already filed 77,429 signatures as of March 31.[13] In May 2010 reports indicated a total of 95,815 signatures.[14] According to July reports, supporters already had 66,716 signatures validated. An additional 47,471 signatures were submitted on deadline day.[15][16] The Secretary of State’s office has 30 days to verify the names.[17]

In total, of the 136,674 signatures filed for verification, 93,223 or 68.2% were validated by state officials. On July 16 the Oregon Secretary of State certified the measure for the November 2010 general election ballot.[18]



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