First-Time Offenders


The treatment of "first-time offenders" often comes up in discussions of criminal justice. Some advocate that "first-time offenders" should receive more lenient treatment in criminal sentencing. But the the term "first-time offender" can create a false impression. It is usually used to mean that a person has no prior felony convictions. This is a far cry from being a true first-time offender.

Many "first-time offenders" are convicted for multiple offenses in their first trip to court. Very few property criminals, robbers or sex offenders are caught after their first crime. Many domestic violence offenders have a long history of battering their victims before the get their first conviction.

There is a huge difference between a person with no prior felony convictions and a true first-time offender. "First-time convicted" does not mean "first-time offender".

Here are some cases, taken from news accounts, that illustrate these points. We can not say with certainty that the criminals in some of these cases had no prior felony convictions, but the news articles give no indication of them.

Eugene Register-Guard, July 1, 2004 - Roger Magaņa, Lane County

Magaņa was a Eugene police officer for many years. He was convicted on 42 counts of "sexual and other heinous crimes against women" covering the period from 1997 through 2003. Among his crimes were sodomy and kidnapping.

Of the "25 to 40 women who had some kind of experience with Magaņa", he was charged with crimes involving 15 and convicted of crimes involving 13. The prosecutor portrayed Magaņa as "a relentless sexual predator who spent much of his time on the job selecting and grooming vulnerable women for his sexual gratification." Testimony was given that he threatened to kill at least one of his victims if she revealed his corruption.

Despite this record, Magaņa is considered a "first-time offender" under Oregon's Sentencing Guidelines.

(Register-Guard, July 14, 2004) Magaņa was convicted on 42 counts including rape, kidnapping, sodomy and sexual assault. During the sentencing hearing, Magaņa "continued his claims of innocence and berated his victims and former colleagues". Judge Karsten Rasmussen called Magaņa a "pathological liar" and said "Today your reign of terror is over." Judge Rasmussen sentenced Magaņa to 94 years in prison, most of which consists of consecutive Measure 11 terms.

The Oregonian, April 22 2004 - Tadd Joseph Bazant, 28, Washington County

Bazant was sentenced to 15 years for molesting a 3-year old boy. He had no prior arrests. But Judge Mark Gardner said:

"I've sentenced murderers, I've sentenced rapist - thousands and thousands of cases - in my 24 years on the bench. And I've never seen a presentence report like this before."

The Oregonian writes:

"Bazant's presentence report outlined a history, from the time he was 7 years old, of rape and molestation. It included attacking members of his family and a school teacher; setting fires; torturing, killing and having sex with animals; collecting child pornography; and running a Web site on which he offered himself as someone who could work with children who have 'special needs'."

In addition to the incident for which he was convicted, Bazant admitted to molesting the victim on two other occasions, starting when the boy was 18 months old.

The Oregonian, March 26, 2004 - Robert David Walker, 32, Wasco County

"Tucker Sherman died wishing he were a boy named 'John.' When the 5-year-old told a state child protective services worker he wanted to be someone else, she thought it 'it was kind of funny coming from a kid' but never asked why."

"It soon became clear. By the time the kindergartner reached an emergency room in The Dalles 10 days later, he was dead. He had 72 blue and yellow bruises and scrapes on his 35-pound body. His left arm had been broken five times, old and new breaks. His right collarbone was cracked. Tucker had bled to death from six tears to his bowel, from the latest in a series of beatings that tore 'his insides out', the Oregon medical examiner concluded. The abuse had gone on for at least two months."

The Oregonian, March 3, 2004 - Herbert Kaneholani, Washington County

"A Washington County judge sentenced a Bethany man convicted in a softball bat beating death to 8 1/2 years in prison - more than a year over the mandatory minimum - after hearing Tuesday about the man's criminal background."

"Jim Fun - a senior deputy district attorney - told Alexander on Tuesday that Kaneholani had a 14-year history of  'persistent assaultive behavior'. Fun said Kaneholani was arrested 12 times in his native Hawaii between August 1987 and August 1993. Those arrests included three assaults, a burglary and possession of a prohibited weapon." 

The Oregonian, March 3, 2004 - Michael A. Selmer, Marion County

Letter To The Editor

"As a senior trooper for the Oregon State Police, I was amused by Michael A. Selmer's letter ("Working, paying restitution better", March 22). I am one of the many police officers who have arrested him over the years. He is the most prolific thief I have dealt with over my career. . . . Despite his many arrests, Selmer continued stealing right up to the moment of his final arrest."

The Oregonian, January 24, 2004 - Galvan Lomboy, Multnomah County

"Some of his 28 victims express relief as Galvan Lomboy is sent to prison for a string of holdups."

"Over an 18-month period, Galvan Lomboy became the Portland area's most prolific armed robber, hitting dozens of small businesses catering to women."

The Oregonian, February 25, 2003 - Thomas Miller, Clackamas County

"A 33-year old Colton man was sentenced in Clackamas County Circuit Court on Monday to 49 years in prison for sexually abusing five children beginning in 1992."

Eugene Register-Guard, June 27, 2003, Steven Jeremy Freeman, Lane County

"A 38-year-old Springfield man who molested 10 boys he befriended through his sports card business and Scout activities was sentenced Thursday to more than 103 years behind bars."

"Freeman molested boys ranging from 4 to the early teens."

"[Judge] Merten said the lengthy sentence - more than four times the minimum sentence for murder - is justified by Freeman's continuous plotting against children and by the number of his victims."

The Oregonian, October 3, 2002, Maurice Grammond, Multnomah County

"The Rev. Maurice Grammond, 82, was a journeyman priest."

"An estimated 46 men have sued the archdiocese and Grammond, accusing him of molesting them when they were boys from 1951 to 1984."


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