Measure 11 Misrepresentations
CRIME VICTIMS UNITED
Measure 11 has nothing to do with victimless crimes, petty crime, or drug crimes. Measure 11 addresses serious crimes only.
And yet opponents of Measure 11, who are sponsoring an initiative to repeal Measure 11, write (as of 4/29/00) the following at their web site:
One Measure 11 inmate with a MINIMUM sentence of 5 years 10 months will cost Oregon taxpayers $163,310.00. Times that by 3,000 inmates! For some crimes that is money worth spending, but for stealing two tires, or stealing $2.00 and a bus pass or fighting, that is wasting our tax dollars!
The petitioners of the repeal initiative are promoting this disinformation that Measure 11 addresses petty property crimes. This is false. Measure 11 addresses serious crimes only.
On the same web site, they write (as of 4/29/00) the following:
First time offenders, youth included, are incarcerated with hardened, repeat offenders. They share the same cells. Kids 16 years old are being housed in prisons instead of juvenile facilities.
This is very false. Youth convicted of any crimes, Measure 11 or not, are put in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority and are sent to youth facilities where they receive education and treatment. They can stay at OYA until age 25.
A small number of dangerous or incorrigible youth are subsequently sent to the state prison because they have attacked staff, attacked fellow offenders, or refused to participate in education and treatment programs. Others reach age 18 and are transferred to prison because they insist on it. This rare transfer of youth to the state prison predates Measure 11. As of 5/1/2000, there were 7 Measure 11 youth under age 18 in the state prison and 35 at OYA. The few youth who are transferred to prison do not share cells with adult offenders.
On April 1, 2000, opponents of Measure 11 held a rally at the Capitol in Salem. Representative JoAnn Bowman, a chief petitioner of the ballot measure to repeal Measure 11, made the following statement, which was aired on the Channel 2 news:
No one who has committed murder, rape, child molestation, or any vicious crime is going to get out because Measure 11 has been repealed.
This is false. The repeal initiative, with which Ms. Bowman is very familiar, states:
Any person sentenced under the repealed provision of law listed in Section 2 above, shall be resentenced by the Court of conviction in accordance with the Oregon Revised Statutes and the rules of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission that were in effect on March 31, 1995, unless the person requests not to be resentenced.
The rules referenced above specify minimum sentences that are 1/3 to 1/2 of the Measure 11 minimum sentences. It is certain that, if Measure 11 is repealed, hundreds of violent criminals, including murderers and rapists, will have their sentences sharply reduced, and many, having already served the shorter sentence, will be released within 90 days of repeal. This is in fact the very reason why Ms. Bowman authored, sponsored, and is promoting this initiative.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimates that 800 Measure 11 offenders will be released if Measure 11 is repealed. Our analysis of figures from a study by the State of Oregon indicates that approximately 1300 Measure 11 offenders will be released if Measure 11 is repealed.
In a 7/29/00 letter to The Oregonian, Measure 94 chief petitioner Lorraine Heller wrote:
For murder the guideline range was 10 years to 22 years and 5 months while under Measure 11 the sentence is 25 years . . . The important difference is that under the guidelines, judges were free to sentence within a specified range.
For a convicted murderer who is a "first-time offender", in the vast majority of cases, the range of sentences available to the judge starts at 10 years and ends at 10 years and one month! Lorraine Heller should talk to the family of murder victim Gloria Jean Carey about judges' freedom under Measure 94.
Despite the fact that it slashes the sentences of hundreds of child molesters, rapists and killers, many of whom will be released in the first 90 days alone, the Oregon PTA is endorsing Measure 94. They did this without asking for or accepting input from Crime Victims United or other Measure 94 opponents, including many members of their own organization.
To make matters worse, the Oregon PTA's position statement on Measure 94 is replete with the false ideas propagated by Measure 94 supporters. It is as if the PTA elite wrote that statement with Measure 94 backers whispering in their ear.
Click here for details.
On October 17, 2000, a few days before ballots were to be mailed for the Measure 94 vote that would repeal Measure 11, a woman who is identified as Karen Hillis improperly used the Medford School District email system to send a mass email to hundreds and hundreds of school district employees. The email contains many blatantly false statements including:
". . . an alarming number of young first time offenders who for little more than a bar room fight are receiving sentences of 7 years . . ."
Truth: Measure 11 covers only the most serious robberies, kidnapping, assaults as well as child molestation, rape, manslaughter, attempted murder and murder.
". . . these young people, who are incarcerated with hardened criminals . . ."
Truth: No juveniles are incarcerated with hardened adult criminals. They all go to the Oregon Youth Authority where they can stay until age 25 if they don't assault staff or other youth and if they participate in treatment programs.
". . . [Measure 11] is disastrous to the state budget . . ."
Truth: Measure 11 consumes less than 1% of the state budget, approximately $15 per year for each Oregonian, less than we spend on video poker.
As of this writing (October 21, 2000), the Medford School District has not permitted Crime Victims United to present a refutation of this disinformation to the people who received it.
Read the full story of the Medford misrepresentations.
In a 8/29/00 letter to The Oregonian, Kathy McLaughlin wrote, referring to Measure 94's resentencing requirement:
"If Measure 11 is repealed, all we know for certain is that judges will review the sentences of those convicted under its provisions."
Measure 94 does not say that judges must "review" sentences. It says that the convicted violent and sex offenders must be resentenced under the the much more lenient Measure 94 system.
In the Oregonian, 1/15/99, referencing an article published in Atlantic Monthly, Lorraine Heller wrote:
According to Schlosser's report, "Crimes that in other countries would usually lead to community service, fines or drug treatment – or not be considered crimes at all – in the United States now lead to a prison term". Oregon has Measure 11, the mandatory minimum sentencing law that hands out prison terms for 23 crimes deemed to be violent but that include fistfights and shoplifting.
Which Measure 11 crimes does Ms. Heller think should be treated with community service? Robbery, assault, kidnapping, rape, manslaughter, attempted murder, murder?
Measure 11 does not cover fistfights unless they are really attacks in which a person suffers significant injury and the attacker has a prior conviction for a serious crime. And Measure 11 does not cover shoplifting under any circumstances whatsoever.
On May 11, 2000, Steve Doell of Crime Victims United appeared on a radio program with lawyer and Measure 11 opponent Emily Simon. The discussion turned to the ballot measure to repeal Measure 11. The following exchange occurred:
Steve Doell: This thing not only repeals Measure 11 but people have to remember it also resentences everybody under Measure 11 and will put them out in the street in some cases immediately within 90 days after the repeal.A few minutes later, Josh Marquis, the District Attorney of Clatsop County, called the program.
Emily Simon: That's not true. And the reason for why that's not true is because the resentencing is done by a judge. And it's within 90 days that the person gets resentenced by a judge. And in fact, it's the judge who imposed the sentence in the first case. This is not going to unleash criminals back into society.
Josh Marquis: Emily said something that's just flat out wrong and I think needs to be corrected.
Steve made the point that if this measure passes, all 3000 of basically Oregon's worst criminals will be resentenced. And that's true.
Emily made the point that the judges will "have discretion", and that's true, except that in many cases they will have no discretion but to release them. And to give you a very vivid and real example, Linda Stangel, the woman who was convicted in my county of pushing David Wahl off a 300 foot cliff and was sentenced to a 75 month prison sentence for manslaughter in the second degree, has served 40 months in prison.
The non-Measure 11 sentence for that killing, with her record, is a maximum of 18 months in prison. The judge has the power, if she could find what are called aggravating circumstances which are unusual, to double that sentence to 36 months. So, in Miss Stangel's case, the judge would have absolutely no choice but to immediately release her.
And Miss Stangel is not alone. There are at least two to three hundred people, for whom judges - rapists, robbers, sex abusers, people who kill people in vehicular crashes - who judges would have no discretion at all but to immediately release them.
Ms. Simon's talk about the judge's role in resentencing is an attempt to blow smoke. She knows very well that judges will be ruling under pre-Measure 11 sentencing guidelines, where minimum sentences are roughly 1/2 to 1/3 the Measure 11 sentences, and that many violent criminals will be released within 90 days if Measure 11 is repealed. In addition to those released within 90 days, many hundreds of additional violent criminals, including murders and rapists, will have their sentences slashed.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimates that 800 Measure 11 offenders will be released if Measure 11 is repealed. Our analysis of figures from a study by the State of Oregon indicates that approximately 1300 Measure 11 offenders will be released if Measure 11 is repealed.
On May 11, 2000, during a radio program on Measure 11, lawyer and Measure 11 opponent Emily Simon made a statement about the treatment of youth offenders under Measure 11. Here is Ms. Simon's statement and Steve Doell's reply.
Emily Simon: That's the problem. What that winds up creating, particularly for juvenile offenders in terms of philosophy of how you can actually reform juvenile offenders is, it doesn't give people options. It doesn't give people treatment options for example for juvenile sex offenders, it doesn't give people the option, for example, there's no boot camp on a Ballot Measure 11 offense. It doesn't exist. There's no good time. There's no work program. You get treated like an adult and you go to prison.
Steve Doell: That's categorically not true. First of all, juveniles go to what they call the Oregon Youth Authority. And what I can tell you about the Oregon Youth Authority, and I happen to serve on the board of directors of the Oregon Youth Authority for Rick Hill who is the outgoing director - going to be retiring this month.
There's all types of treatment programs at the Oregon Youth Authority. There's education programs, there's vocational programs, there's alcohol and drug treatment, there's sex offender treatment. This allegation that there's no treatment for youthful offenders is just flat bogus.
I think it's important to note, and I know that Ms. Simon might go on to say that we've got these youth with adult offenders - in this same memo that I have from the Department of Corrections, right now in Oregon prisons there's six offenders that are under the age 18 and the fact of the matter is . . . and that number fluctuates - I know a month ago it was like 17 but you got people turning 18, you got people coming in and out.
The issue here is this, the way you land in adult prison is that you've got to attack staff at the OYA, attack another youthful offender at the OYA, or you've just got to flat refuse treatment, and the issue is that when you refuse treatment, for the most part, they counsel you for up to 30 days before they just send you off to the adult prison.
It's hard to understand how Ms. Simon could say that there is no sex offender treatment, there is no work program, "you get treated like an adult and you go to prison". As reported by The Oregonian (February 24, 2000), Ms. Simon is an attorney with the Juvenile Rights Project which did an extensive study of the small number of youth held in the state prison. As an attorney representing youth offenders, Ms. Simon is thoroughly familiar with the Oregon Youth Authority, and knows very well that the vast majority of youth offenders are sent to OYA and can stay there until age 25 unless they are incorrigible.
On May 11, 2000, during a radio program on Measure 11, lawyer and Measure 11 opponent Emily Simon made the following statement:
Emily Simon: 84 percent of the juvenile offenders are sentenced to a Robbery II.
This is an absurd contention. According to Department of Corrections statistics dated May 1, 2000, 23.7* percent of youth offenders were convicted of Robbery II. The number for all Measure 11 offenders was 14.9 percent.
* The actual percentage of youth who received a Measure 11 sentence for Robbery II is lower. This is because the 23.7 percent figure includes youth who were exempted from Measure 11 sentencing under Senate Bill 1049.
In an Oregonian editorial from February 20, 1999, Measure 11 critic Emily Simon wrote:
Most Ballot Measure 11 prosecutions are for unarmed robberies and for assaults involving no permanent injury.
Wrong. As of May, 2000, all assaults and robberies accounted for less than a majority of all Measure 11 offenders (1353 out of 3126). Of those 1353, all of those convicted of Assault I and most of those convicted of Robbery I used a deadly or dangerous weapon.
This gets us down to approximately 808 people convicted of Assault II or Robbery II.
In the case of Assault II, the criminal would in most cases be exempted from Measure 11 unless a deadly weapon was used or the victim suffered a significant physical injury or the criminal had a prior conviction for a serious crime.
In the case of Robbery II, the criminal would in most cases be exempted from Measure 11 unless the victim suffered a significant physical injury or the criminal had a prior conviction for a serious crime.
In an Oregonian article from March 19, 2000, Katherine Riley, referring to Measure 11, wrote:
The measure narrowly passed.
Measure 11 passed by a nearly two-thirds majority.
In an Oregonian article from March 19, 2000, Katherine Riley, referring to Measure 11, wrote:
Mandatory minimum sentences now apply to those who are simply in the presence of someone who commits a violent action.
There is no one sentenced under Measure 11 for being "simply in the presence of someone who commits a violent action."
In a Eugene Register-Guard letter from July 28, 2000, Duane Charters wrote:
Mandatory minimum sentencing has quadrupled the prison population in recent years.
Mr. Charters' figures are off by a factor of 10. According to statistics from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, the prison population was 7290 in April, 1995, when Measure 11 went into effect. The estimate for July 1, 2000, was 9861. That is a growth of 35%. As of April of this year, half of the total growth going forward is attributed to Measure 11.
July 27, 2000: A letter from an Oregon prison inmate appeared in the Eugene Register-Guard. He wrote:
"Voters passed an unfair law in 1994 that is putting 15 year olds in prison for a minimum of six years. It's called Measure 11, Oregon's flawed mandatory minimum sentencing law. . . . I am well aware that one simple mistake can land a person in prison for a minimum of 70 months."
August 1: Eugene resident Thomas Becker replied:
"I was quite amazed at the chutzpah of Oregon State Penitentiary inmate . . . We don't know what his crime was, but I imagine it involved more than 'one simple mistake.' . . . The provisions of Measure 11 apply only to the most heinous criminal activity: murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, robbery and sexual abuse."
August 16: The parents of the inmate replied indignantly:
"Since we know what happened, we don't appreciate Becker 'imagining' our son's situation . . . Becker includes robbery (stealing your neighbor's bike) and assault (defending yourself against the school bully with a pocket knife) in his list of "heinous crimes" covered by Measure 11."
Reality check: Stealing a bike is not a Measure 11 crime.
Self-defense is never a crime.
You don't have to' imagine' this inmate's situation. Here are the facts.
The inmate, age 21, was charged with two counts of Sodomy I and two counts of Sex Abuse I for molesting a 5-year-old girl! He pled guilty to one count of Sex Abuse I. If Measure 94 passes, his 6-year, 3 month prison term will be slashed to no more than 15 months and he will be released in 2001.
See the full text of the letters.
On September 23, 2000, on KPAM radio, host Victor Boc asked Measure 11 opponent Sharon Miller if kids brawling on the schoolyard or someone who loses it and punches somebody, if these are really Measure 11 offenses. Ms. Miller replied:
"Oh yes. As I said, we know of several families who are in this predicament. Our founder, who is Bill and Cathi Lawler up in Portland, their son is in juvenile youth authority and will be remanded to adult prison, probably on his review date for that, when he becomes of age to do that, and that's exactly what happened. They were in a barn on someone's property, there was a fight in the barn, and their son was charged with two counts under Measure 11 and he was convicted and sentenced."
This account bears no resemblance to what really happened. Brian Lawler, the son of Measure 94 chief petitioner Cathi Lawler, with no provocation whatsoever, bashed another youth on the head three times with a baseball bat. The victim has permanent brain and vision impairment and ongoing seizures. His planned marriage was scrapped, his education was scrapped, and his life will never be the same.
On September 23, 2000, on KPAM radio, host Victor Boc discussed that state of affairs in the criminal justice system prior to Measure 11.
Wayne Miller: The judge had discretion. He had upward of downward departure, depending on whether it was aggravating or mitigating circumstances applied to the case. If they were aggravating circumstances, the judge took that sentence that he had, and in 80% of the cases, he departed upward with it. He gave them longer sentences.
Sharon Miller: Right.
According the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, which writes the rules for the sentencing system under discussion, judges departed upward in 16% of cases.
This is the story of letters printed in The Oregonian in which Measure 94 proponents attempted to deceive the public regarding conditions of incarceration for juveniles convicted under Measure 11.
On 9/12/2000, Rita Thomas wrote a letter to The Oregonian saying:
"I do occasional pastoral visits with men incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary. One day I was shocked to see a boy in prison garb who looked about 14. . . . We share the shame for Rashaan Coley being sentenced to an adult prison at the age of 15 for robbery. . . . Please vote to repeal Measure 11."
Debra Oyamada of Crime Victims United responded on 9/21/2000 as follows:
Concerning Rita E. Thomas' letter about the state penitentiary and "boys," I question the motives of Thomas for writing it and of The Oregonian for printing it. That was irresponsible journalism. She implied that there was a boy in the penitentiary who was 14 (" . . . I was shocked to see a boy in prison garb who looked about 14."). Well, he wasn't!
There are no 14-year-olds in the state penitentiary. That's against the law.
Facts: All youths sentenced, Measure 11 or not, go to the Oregon Youth Authority, not adult prison. They receive education, counseling and treatment. The only way they go to prison is if they assault another youth, refuse all treatment or become 18 and insist on being transferred to adult prison.
As of Aug. 1, there were exactly seven "Measure 11 youths" in adult prison because they've been assaultive or incorrigible. They are segregated from adults.
Read the facts about Measure 11 at www.crimevictimsunited.org. Please stop propagating fiction.
In a 10/6/2000 letter to The Oregonian, inmate Dee Turner wrote in response:
Regarding the letter from Debra Oyamada ("Boys aren't sent to state prison," Sept. 21), I am 18. I have been housed here since about two months after my 16th birthday. I and several other youths my age have not been segregated from the adult population.
I believe what leads to the youths my age and younger being housed in adult facilities is partly our own impulsive behavior, but mostly the mental and physical effects of Measure 11.
When we are faced with the reality of five to 10 years of our lives being spent in prison for something as petty as a fight or a small mistake we made when we were barely 15 years old, when it hits us that we are going to be separated from everything we love for so long, we experience what you could call an emotional and mental breakdown.
When that happens, the impulsiveness we suffer from is amplified and we act more than ever on our anger. That type of emotional stress is what leads us to being housed "up state."
Most youths sentenced under Measure 11 don't make it out of here without suffering from long-term mental and physical effects because of the amount of time we serve. It does not take so much time for people to realize that the choices they made were wrong, and to decide to change.
I hope those who read this will consider voting yes on Measure 94 to right the wrong that Measure 11 has done.
Turner's letter is deceptive. He is not serving a Measure 11 sentence. He was convicted of Assault III, not a Measure 11 crime. He is serving a 24 month sentence. (The presumptive sentence for a "first-time offender" convicted of Assault III is 3 to 6 months and the judge can depart all the way down to probation. Turner's sentence is considerably longer because of his prior record.)
The fact that Turner was sent to adult prison has nothing to do with Measure 11. He was sent to adult prison for attacking two Oregon Youth Authority staff members. He could have served his entire term at the OYA if he merely refrained from attacking staff.
Note Turner's statement:
I am 18. I have been housed here since about two months after my 16th birthday. I and several other youths my age have not been segregated from the adult population.
He wants you to think that 16 year olds who are too much for OYA to handle and are consequently sent to adult prison are housed with adults. In fact, those few in that circumstance are housed separately. When he says "I and several other youths my age have not been segregated from the adult population", he is referring to 18-year-olds, not 16-year-olds.
The irony of the statement
. . .when it hits us that we are going to be separated from everything we love for so long, we experience what you could call an emotional and mental breakdown . . .
may escape Mr. Turner. The victims of violent crime also know something about emotional and mental breakdown and about being separated from loved ones.
In an opinion piece on Oregon Live, Deborah Dombrowski wrote:
"One day a 17-year-old boy gets into a fistfight at school. The boy he hits falls down, hits his head against a cement floor and gets a concussion."
She implies that the accused youth is a "first-time offender" and says he was sentenced under Measure 11 to 5 years and 10 months for Assault II. This scenario does not stand up to scrutiny.
The "least serious" Measure 11 assault is Assault in the Second Degree. A conviction requires that the accused:
Intentionally inflicted serious physical injury or
Intentionally injured the victim by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon or
Displayed recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life
In order to be convicted for Assault II, a prosecutor would have to believe that the incident met this definition, a grand jury would have to agree, and a judge or jury would have to agree. The incident cited does not come close.
Furthermore, even if the youth in this incident were convicted of Assault II, he would still not be sentenced under Measure 11. Under Senate Bill 1049, passed in 1997 with the support of Crime Victims United, the judge would have the authority to exempt the youth from Measure 11 sentencing altogether.
Here is a story of a real Assault II. The victim is the father of a Crime Victims United member. He was about 70 years old at the time. On October 18, 1998, a man in his early 40's beat him so severely that it cracked his skull, caused a blood clot in his brain, and left him in a coma. He was not expected to live, but thankfully did. He now has permanent hearing loss and other maladies stemming from that attack. His attacker had no prior serious convictions and therefore was considered a "first-time offender", but he admitted to a psychologist that he had beaten up numerous people. This violent person was convicted of Assault II and sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison under Measure 11.
Measure 11 opponent Donna Jackson wrote a letter to the Albany Democrat-Herald, which appeared on August 19, 2000. Here are excerpts with our commentary interspersed.
Ms. Jackson writes:
"Reading the letter in tonight's paper (Aug. 1) from Ted Bartz of Eugene about the injustice of what Measure 11 is doing to our youth, the first-time offenders, made me want to shout from the rooftops for all of us, the taxpayers, to stop and really take a look at what this new jail system is costing you and me, the taxpayers."
Ms. Jackson, Measure 11 has no impact on jails other than to keep people out of them by keeping them in the state prison.
"Measure 11 was supposed to give the repeat offender longer and harder sentences, not to be building all these new prisons for our youth, the first time offenders."
Ms. Jackson, Measure 11 was specifically written to set minimum sentences for robbers, rapists, child abusers and killers regardless of their past criminal history. We aren't taking that excuse anymore.
"If we all knew the truth about how much it cost each of us to run all these prisons, and to think that they do not offer any rehabilitation of any kind for drugs, alcohol or other crimes that would help your youth to get back into our communities as good citizens."
Ms. Jackson, youth don't go to prison. They go to the Oregon Youth Authority. There they get education and every kind of treatment you can imagine. They can stay at OYA until age 25. The only way to get from OYA to prison is to attack someone, refuse to participate, or turn 18 and ask repeatedly. Any youth who wants to can emerge from OYA an educated good citizen.
"But please take time out and think about downsizing our prison system by voting yes on Measure 94. Repeal Measure 11; take the sentencing away from the DAs and put justice back into the courts, where the judge can and will look at each case."
Ms. Jackson, Sentencing Guidelines, which Measure 94 restores, gives judges very little discretion in most cases. For a "first-time" offender who is convicted of murder, the range sentences available to the judge starts at 10 years and ends at 10 years and one month. Some discretion!
Ms. Jackson, please stop putting out these outrageous deceptions. The Crime Victims web page listing misrepresentations from Measure 94 proponents is already 8 pages long!
An opponent of Measure 11 wrote a letter to the Albany Democrat-Herald, which appeared on November 29, 1999. Part of the letter says:
I'd like to tell you a story. A young 19-year-old mother leaves Phoenix, Arizona, because she is being beaten by her boyfriend, so she gets on a bus and ends up in Oregon, no money and a hungry baby. She does the unthinkable and shoplifts a bottle of formula to feed her hungry baby. Nothing else, just formula to feed her baby.
On the way out of the store a clerk grabs her; she has a natural reaction and pulls back, accidentally elbowing the clerk. Boom! You can find that woman today in prison for assault in the first degree (5 year, 10 month mandatory sentence), and where do you think her baby is? Right, the state got her.
The young woman had never broke the law before. Please help repeal Measure 11.
This story certainly sounds like a scathing indictment of Measure 11. But it is transparently bogus.
The 5 year, 10 month sentence is for Assault II, not Assault I as the letter states. You can see from the law on Assault II that a conviction requires that the accused:(a) Intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another; or
(b) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or
(c) Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Do you seriously believe that a prosecutor would charge someone with Assault II for accidentally elbowing someone? And that a grand jury would vote to send this case to trial? And that a jury would vote to convict?
Furthermore, if the woman had been convicted for Assault II, as a first-time offender, she would be eligible for exemption from Measure 11 sentencing under the provisions of Senate Bill 1049.
There is something seriously wrong with the story told in the Democrat-Herald. No one who knows what crimes Measure 11 covers and how these crimes are defined would ever believe a misrepresentation like this. And yet, opponents of Measure 11 routinely tell such stories.
P.S. As reported in The Oregonian on 10/28/2000, the true story is that the woman in question used a loaded and cocked handgun to rob a convenience store. She was a suspect in other robberies and had been convicted of theft in 1996.
Voters' Pamphlet arguments in support of Measure 94 contain numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations. Among the most egregious were claims that Oregon spends more on prison than education (it is not even close), and that 4 girls serving Measure 11 committed suicide (not true). Crime Victims United filed a lawsuit on these misrepresentations. On October 27, 2000, The Oregonian ran an editorial entitled "The truth about Measure 94" which took Measure 94 proponents to task for these misrepresentations.
On October 28, 2000, The Oregonian ran an extensive article that exposed many of the distortions and misrepresentations made by Measure 94 proponents.
On October 30, 2000, on the Lars Larson show to defend his campaign against The Oregonian's allegations of deceptiveness, Mike Kelly, a leader in the effort to repeal Measure 11, used the case of Mark Morris as an example of a Measure 11 abuse. Morris was convicted for a 1995 beating in which the victim's jaw was broken and a nerve in his face was severed.
But Oregon Department of Corrections records show that Mark Morris (DOC record 203712) served less than one half of the Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentence. He was originally sentenced under Measure 11, but was resentenced under Senate Bill 1049, a 1997 amendment supported by Crime Victims United that allows judges in certain Assault II, Robbery II and Kidnapping II cases to remove the convicted criminal from Measure 11 entirely.
Measure 94 proponents also used the Mark Morris case in flyers during signature gathering to put Measure 94 on the ballot.
In the 11/1/2000 Oregonian, in a letter to the editor, Representative Jo Ann Bowman, a chief petitioner for Measure 94, accuses the No on 94 campaign of making "overt false statements and misrepresentation of the facts."
This is a shameless distortion.
Crime Victims United, has been in the forefront of the effort to defeat Measure 94. We have alleged that the Yes on 94 campaign, including Representative Bowman and other chief petitioners, has made dozens of misrepresentations. For every last one of our allegations, we have substantiation in the form of newspaper articles, letters to the editor, campaign material, audio recordings, video recordings, and voters' pamphlet arguments. All of our allegations, with substantiation, can be seen
on this web site. An overview of the Yes on 94 massive
disinformation campaign is also provided.
Crime Victims United would like Representative Bowman to provide detailed substantiation for her implication that Crime Victims United has made "overt false statements and misrepresentation of the facts". She can not do it because we have run a scrupulously honest campaign.
Click here for misstatements and misrepresentations made by Measure 94 proponents in the 2000 voter's pamphlet.
In a September 7, 2002 letter to The Oregonian, Wayland DeWITT wrote:
As a former community college president who has endured the agonizing process of terminating excellent faculty members and college programs because of fiscal constraints, I am deeply saddened to see what is happening to our K-12 schools, community colleges and university programs and budgets. How shameful!
No one has mad the connection between Measure 11 and bleeding budgets in education and in human services. Since the advent of Measure 11, the state has spent around $1 billion on the construction of warehouses that serve as prisons, along with a cost of more than $30,000 per inmate per year.
The "get tough" philosophy of Measure 11 has come home to haunt us, and we are now sacrificing the educational programs of our children in order to warehouse inmates.
On September 26, 2002, The Oregonian ran the following reply from Crime Victims United president Steve Doell:
Parents, friends and relatives of violent criminals seem to have the biggest problem with Measure 11. Latest example?
In a Sept. 7 letter, Wayland DeWitt implies that, as a community college president, he had to cut teachers to make up for prison construction, necessitated by Oregon's get-tough-on-violent-criminals law - Measure 11. But DeWitt never administered a college in Oregon, and Measure 11 has never caused the layoff of one teacher.
DeWitt's real outrage over Measure 11 is that his daughter, Liysa Northon, is serving more than 12 years for killing her husband in a campground near Enterprise. True, this is the first time Northon killed anyone, but most of us believe even first-time killers should go to prison.
We also know that Oregon spends about 57 cents of every tax dollar on education and about 7 cents on corrections, of which about one cent is spent on Measure 11.
Protecting our citizens is the first priority of government. To my thinking, a penny out of each tax dollar to keep rapists, robbers, child molesters, kidnappers and murderers behind bars sounds like a good use of taxpayer money.
In an October 16, 2002 letter to The Eugene Register- Guard, Wayne Miller wrote:
While Kevin Mannix's money backers pay for TV attack ads calling Ted Kulongoski a tax-and-spend Democrat, Mannix himself assuages supposedly liberal Lane County voters by proposing to allow property tax increases to cushion school budgets (Register-Guard, Oct. 9). While Mannix's proposal may have merit, his campaign style lacks dignity. I would hope that stretching himself in opposite directions could cause Mannix some discomfort, especially at the polls.
As I recall, back in 1994 with $200,000 from the same man now paying for his attack ads, Mannix proposed Measure 11, using the initiative petition process to foist off an unfunded mandate on unwary voters.
In his Voters' Pamphlet statement Mannix gave figures that seriously underestimated the costs involved in applying Measure 11. Since then, prison costs have increased 600 percent and necessitated the building of two more prisons at a cost that defies financial logic. This, in a state that already has 12 adult prisons and numerous juvenile facilities, plus rental space in more than nine county jails and in prisons of four other states. The fiscal foresight exhibited by Mannix's predictions is not something we can afford in the office of governor - past, present or future.
In an October 20, 2002, Crime Victims United sent the following reply to The Register- Guard:
Wayne Miller's recent letter bashing Kevin Mannix contained several statements that bear no resemblance to reality. Miller says that Measure 11 foisted an unfunded mandate on unwary voters. But the 1994 voters' pamphlet included a financial impact statement that turned out to overestimate the cost by more than a factor of two, and yet the voters still approved Measure 11 by a two-thirds majority.
Miller writes "In his Voters' Pamphlet statement Mannix gave figures that seriously underestimated the costs involved in applying Measure 11." This is a total fabrication as you can see by looking at the complete Measure 11 voters' pamphlet material posted at www.crimevictimsunited.org.
Here's what Mannix actually wrote in the voters' pamphlet: "It costs money to keep criminals in prison. While it may save the government money to set these criminals free, the cost to society and victims is incredible. We all pay this cost. By enacting this measure, we will at least be getting justice for our money."
Miller claims that "since then, prison costs have increased 600 percent". Another total fabrication. Figures from the Legislative Fiscal Office show that the general fund budget for the Department of Corrections, including the cost of operating prisons and paying debt service for construction, increased by 140 percent since the 1993-1995 biennium while the state's overall budget increased by 78 percent. During that same time the reported violent crime index rate dropped 41 percent.
Mr. Miller has every right to oppose Measure 11 and Kevin Mannix but he has no right to do so using fabrications.
Crime Victims United
Documentation and source references
Violent crime index rate: (robberies, aggravated assaults, forcible rapes, non-negligent homicides)
1995: 522.4 per 100,00 residents (3)
2001: 309.68 per 100,00 residents (4)
1. Source: Legislative Fiscal Office, 1993-95 Analysis of Legislatively Approved Budget, Multnomah County Lib # 3 1168 03316 5117, State Library # OR-L/F52/4.7L52/2:993-95
2. Source: Legislative Fiscal Office, 2001- 2003 Legislatively Adopted Budget
3. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
4. Source: Oregon Law Enforcement Data Systems
On October 22, 2002, one Mary Heron Dyer sent an email to all Oregon legislators. The email professed her views on criminal justice and included an essay written by a man who was awaiting trial for sex crimes. Here is our response which we sent to the same legislators.
You recently received an email from Mary Heron Dyer entitled "MEASURE 11 REFORM". This email contained a number of inaccuracies, misconceptions, and far-fetched claims that must be addressed.
>Under current legal definitions, most males have committed sex crimes
This is preposterous.
>A typical Measure 11 sex conviction involves a high school boy busted
>for fooling around with his junior high school girlfriend.
We have closely followed the application of Measure 11 around the state. To our knowledge, there is only one case that comes close to this characterization. In ruling on that case, the Court of Appeals wrote: "defendant described himself as a 'gangster', his juvenile record is deplorable." The defendant defied the judge's order to have no contact with the victim by moving into her bedroom. He also committed a robbery while awaiting trial.
For more information, see http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure94/cases/thorp.htm
Despite this offender's atrocious record, the judge would have had discretion to depart below Measure 11 in this case if Measure 11 opponents had not opposed prior legislation supported by Crime Victims United. Such legislation was finally passed in 2002 (HB 2379).
Under SB 1049 (1997) and HB 2379 (2002), under certain circumstances a judge can exempt juveniles without prior serious criminal convictions from Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentences for all second degree crimes except Manslaughter. For details, see:
SB 1049 applies to adults as well as juveniles.
>Allegations of sex abuse are easy to make and difficult to defend against.
To the contrary, as the case against Wesley Roettger (Ashley Pond's biological father) demonstrates, children come under serious pressure not to make such allegations or to retract them, and convictions are not easily achieved.
The second part of the email you received was written by David Chandler, an inmate in the Clackamas County Jail. According to the October 5, 2001 edition of The Oregonian, Chandler, age 29, is alleged to have met his 13-year-old victim through instant messaging on the Internet, leading to two separate sexual encounters in a one week period. The article says that Chandler "faces charges of second-degree rape, two counts of second degree sodomy and furnishing alcohol to a minor."
>The sentencing guidelines prior to Measure 11 (and still in effect for
>other crimes) used a grid on which the "crime seriousness" was matched
>against the defendant's criminal history to determine sentencing. If someone
>had, say, a single previous person-to-person felony, then the sentence for
>the new crime would be at least twice as long as it would be for a person
>with a clean record.
This is wrong. Under sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for a murderer with no prior record was 10 years (8 years after "good time"). To reach a 20 year presumptive sentence, the murderer had to have three or more prior person felony convictions.
>Thirty-five percent of those serving Measure 11 sentences are first-time offenders.
Measure 11 opponents use the term "first-time offender" to mean "first-time convicted". While there are undoubtedly some TRUE first-time offenders among this thirty-five percent, there are also undoubtedly many offenders who committed many crimes and had many victims before being convicted. This is especially common among sex offenders. For example, on 10/03/2002, The Oregonian reported that Maurice Grammond was accused by an estimated 46 men of abusing them when they were boys. Under the definition used by Measure 11 opponents, he would be a "first-time offender". Similarly, Wesley Roettger would be considered a "first-time offender", even though he allegedly raped his daughter from age 7 to age 11 (The Oregonian, 9/8/2002).
In 1999 the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office did an analysis of the criminal record of 50 Measure 11 offenders chosen at random. 84% had a prior criminal record. For details, see:
>If someone gets in a drunken fist fight with a friend and bloodies his
>nose, he is charged with Measure 11 assault. If a man forces his wife from
>a room in a domestic dispute, he is charged with Measure 11 kidnapping. If
>a troubled teen playing with matches catches fire to a building in which a
>person might be expected to be, he is charged with Measure 11 arson.
This is typical of far-fetched claims routinely made by Measure 11 opponents, claims which have been debunked over and over.
A bloody nose is, at the very most, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. A second degree kidnapping requires "intent to interfere substantially with another's personal liberty." Arson is a Measure 11 crime only "when the offense represented a threat of serious physical injury." For details, see:
During the Measure 94 campaign, Measure 11 opponents cited innumerable such cases of supposed Measure 11 outrages. On investigation, all of them were found to be incomplete, inaccurate, misrepresentations or completely bogus. On October 28, 2001, The Oregonian exposed many of these myths, but they continue to be recycled in the anti-Measure 11 community. For details, see:
>In the mid-nineties when Measure 11 was voted in, the crime rates in Oregon,
>specifically, were at historic lows.
To the contrary, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that violent crime was near a historic high in the years prior to the passage of Measure 11. See:
>citizens may want to seriously consider the wisdom of incarcerating for years
>(for example) a teenager who steals a car for a joy-ride.
Stealing a car is not a Measure 11 crime. In Oregon, a teenager who is caught
stealing a car receives probation unless he or she has a long felony record.
>Oregon ranks eleventh among states in overall population growth, but second
>in per capita income spent on prison construction.
Oregon is now paying the price for failing to deal with serious crime in the past. From 1960 through 1984, while Oregon's population doubled and the violent crime rate increased by a factor of seven, Oregon built one new prison with 400 beds. For details, see:
>If a felon violates his supervision, he is pulled back to jail or prison.
In most cases, this occurs only after additional innocent victims are robbed, assaulted, abused, raped or murdered. Overconfidence in our ability to supervise sex offenders is a miscalculation that can have lethal consequences. For an example, see:
>One need not be a bleeding-heart liberal to recognize that the resources diverted
>to incarcerating these young people might better be spent educating them.
Juveniles incarcerated under Measure 11 receive excellent education, counseling, therapy and treatment opportunities. In many cases, a Measure 11 sentence is the only thing that saves youths on a steep slope toward self-destruction or destruction of others. For an example, see:
It is heartwarming that so many criminals have recently become such ardent proponents of education.
>This law has done nothing to reduce crime while costing over a billion dollars so far.
We estimate that Measure 11 cost approximately $50 million dollars for 2001. For details, see:
As far as doing nothing to reduce crime, after almost two decades at or near historic highs, the violent crime rate in Oregon dropped in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. See:
For compelling testimony as to Measure 11's contribution to this trend, see:
In conclusion, opponents of Measure 11 have used misinformation and disinformation for years. Their claims must be carefully examined. Measure 11 is working as voters intended. Crime Victims United has supported responsible modifications that do not gut the core principles of Measure 11 or put innocent people at risk.
Crime Victims United
In early January, 2003, Mary Dyer sent a letter advocating for "Measure 11 reform" to District Attorneys around Oregon. The letter contained many false and misleading statements. On January 31, 2003, Crime Victims United President Steve Doell sent a detailed reply to Ms. Dyer.
In a 10/18/2003 Oregonian article, criminal defense attorney Emily Simon commented on the most recent conviction of Raashan Coley. Coley gained notoriety during the Measure 94 campaign when he was released from custody halfway through his Measure 11 sentence for armed robbery, because he was 7 hours short of 15 years old at the time of the crime. Simon said of Coley's new conviction:
"I don't care who the kid is, any kid who you keep in an adult facility and you keep isolated for 18 to 20 hours a day is going to be undersocialized and hardened."
As an expert in juvenile criminal justice, Simon knows very well that Raashan Coley, like nearly all juveniles convicted of Measure 11 crimes or any other crimes, had the opportunity to spend his entire term at the Oregon Youth Authority. All he needed to do was go to school, participate in programs and not assault staff or other youth.
If Raashan Coley spent time in adult prison (where he would have been segregated from adult prisoners) it is only because this is the path he chose.
As of this writing, Department of Corrections data shows that there is just one Measure 11 offender under the age of 18 in adult prison.
Emily Simon's comment in The 10/18/2003 Oregonian is intended to suggest that Measure 11 requires juveniles to be sent to adult prison. As an expert in juvenile criminal justice, Simon knows that this is not the case.
In the Spring of 2005, Mr. Joseph H. Jenkins, the husband of a woman convicted of Manslaughter II for killing two pedestrians while driving drunk, wrote a letter to legislators about the case. In the letter, Mr. Jenkins neglected to mention that his wife had been drinking, had marijuana in her system, and was convicted of DUII in addition to manslaughter. He also fabricated supposed comments from the judge in the case and made several other false or misleading claims.
Political commentator Russell Sadler found a striking statistic about Measure 11 and published in in The Daily Astorian (March 10, 2006), on the westbynorthwest.org web site (January 12, 2004) and on the blueoregon.com web site (March 12, 2006):
"1994's ballot Measure 11, imposing mandatory minimum sentences, quadrupled the number of inmates in prison without providing any new money to build and operate prisons."
This statistic bears no resemblance to reality. Here are the facts.
On April 1, 1995, when Measure 11 took effect, Oregon's prison population was 7,260. (Source: Oregon Department of Corrections)
The October, 2005 prison population forecast estimated that the number of prisoners as of January, 2006 would be 13,040. (Source: Oregon DAS/OEA prison population forecast)
That is an increase of 5,780 prisoners. Of this, 3,706 prisoners are attributed to the direct or indirect impact of Measure 11 according to the DAS/OEA estimate (2488 direct, 1217 indirect). (Source: Oregon DAS/OEA - contact Suzanne Porter and ask for the "Measure 11 Impact" data.)
Thus Measure 11 can be said to have caused an increase in prison population of about 50 percent or one-eighth the increase claimed by Mr. Sadler.
In the 1994 election, the voters pamphlet fiscal impact statement estimated that Measure 11 would require an additional 6,085 beds by 2001.
The actual number as of July 1, 2001, as estimated by the Department of Administrative Services, was 2,589. (Source: Measure 11 Impact data from DAS/OEA.)
The Measure 11 crimes are Robbery I and II, Assault I and II, Kidnapping I and II, Arson I when it risks causing serious injury or death, Using a Child in a Display of Sexually Explicit Material, Compelling Prostitution, Sexual Abuse I, Rape, Sodomy and Unlawful Sexual Penetration I and II, Manslaughter I and II, Attempted Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, and Murder.
In the period from 1995 through 2002, Oregon led the nation in decrease in violent crime rate with a total decrease of 44 percent. This decrease represented a savings of 34,000 violent crimes relative to the 1995 violent crime rate. We do not claim that Measure 11 is solely responsible for this decrease but we do believe that it made a substantial contribution.
For more information, see the Crime Victims United Measure 11 presentation.
On May 5, 2006, gubernatorial candidate W. Ames Curtright sent an email to thousands of subscribers on a GOP Internet mailing list. In his email Curtright expounded his view that "Measure 11 is 'hell on earth' to many people who do not deserve such treatment". Dr. Curtright's email contains much misinformation.
Dr. Curtright quotes a supporter who wrote to him that "a 15-year old in our family . . . was prosecuted as an adult for basically 'a hickey'". The implication is that a 15-year old is serving a Measure 11 sentence for a minor offense. We have heard and investigated such claims for years and they have all turned out to be bogus. An article in The Oregonian (10/28/2000) examined several similar claims and found them to be misrepresentations or totally fabricated. The Measure 11 crimes are Robbery I and II, Assault I and II, Kidnapping I and II, Arson I when it risks causing serious injury or death, Using a Child in a Display of Sexually Explicit Material, Compelling Prostitution, Sexual Abuse I, Rape, Sodomy and Unlawful Sexual Penetration I and II, Manslaughter I and II, Attempted Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, and Murder.
Dr. Curtright says that "No law, including Measure 11, should have the power to violate our model of representative government." Measure 11 has been challenged in Oregon Circuit Court, in the Oregon Court of Appeals, in the Oregon Supreme Court (State v. Verman-Velasco, 2/28/2002), and in the U.S. Court of Appeals (Alvarado v. Hill, 6/7/2001) and has been held constitutional at every level.
Dr. Curtright says "At the time Measure 11 was passed by our voters, no one asked how expensive it would be." Wrong. Every ballot measure is the subject of of a "fiscal impact statement". In the 1994 election, the voters pamphlet fiscal impact statement estimated that Measure 11 would require an additional 6,085 beds by 2001. The voters passed Measure 11 by a margin of 2 to 1. The actual number of additional beds required as of July 1, 2001, as estimated by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, was 2,589. In 2000, when Measure 94 proposed to repeal Measure 11, another fiscal impact statement was written and featured prominently in the voters' pamphlet. Voters rejected the repeal of Measure 11 by a margin of nearly 3 to 1. Voters understand the cost of prisons. They also understand the cost of violent crime.
Dr. Curtright says "we are placing these young teens in adult prison". Wrong. All juveniles convicted in Oregon are sent to the Oregon Youth Authority where they can remain until age 25 provided that they participate in education and programs and don't attack other youth or staff. The tiny number of juveniles who are sent to adult prison because they are violent are segregated from adult prisoners. Once they turn 18 and are legally adults, some youths held at juvenile facilities petition to be sent to adult prison and their request is usually granted.
Dr. Curtright says "our prison population is about 30 percent illegal immigrants." Wrong. According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, as of May 2006 it is about 6.9 percent.
Dr. Curtright says "I have repeatedly seen people plea bargain into crimes they have not committed". This claim has been made in the past and has never been substantiated.
Dr. Curtright says "I do not believe Measure 11 has stopped crime or decreased it." Perhaps he thinks that 3,500 armed robbers, brutal wife beaters, kidnappers, child molesters, forcible rapists, drive-by shooters, drunk drivers who have maimed and killed, attempted murderers and murderers would commit no crimes if they were on the street instead of in prison. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Oregon had the largest decrease in violent crime from 1995 to 2002 of any state in the union. We do not claim that Measure 11 is entirely responsible for this decrease but we do believe that it made a substantial impact.
Dr. Curtright says "Measure 11 is 'hell on earth' to many people who do not deserve such treatment". Perhaps Dr. Curtright's vision of hell includes three square meals a day, dental care, health care, drug and alcohol treatment, cognitive therapy, an opportunity to work, access to the law library, television, visitors, and participation in clubs and sports.
Closer to hell is the experience of the victims of violent criminals - the people who have guns shoved in their faces by strangers, the women beaten to a pulp by their "boyfriends", those whose skulls are cracked by baseball bats or ribs separated by knives, the innocent people held hostage in their communities by violent gangs, the children who are sexually abused usually for months or years, the women who are forcibly raped, the loved ones of innocent people killed by drunk drivers, the innocent people hit by gang-bangers' stray bullets, and the surviving loved ones of murder victims.
Dr. Curtright's email contains several other points which are too bizarre to be debated, such as his comparison of the due process of Oregon courts to the summary execution of southern protesters after the civil war.
Nothing in Dr. Curtright's email gives any indication that he understands what crimes Measure 11 covers, what types of acts are punished through Measure 11, or the impact of these crimes and their perpetrators on innocent victims and communities.
On May 25, 2007, an op-ed entitled "Let's Get Smart on Youth Crime" written by Karen Cain appeared in the Salem Statesman-Journal. Cain wrote:
"Through ground-breaking research and the miracle of modern technology . . . we now know that the part of the brain that controls functions such as impulse control, moral and ethical reasoning and understanding the long-term consequences of one's actions isn't fully developed until approximately the age of 20. Yet, in Oregon, we treat youth aged 15, 16 and 17 who commit certain types of crimes as adults."
For some reason, Cain felt no need to specify what those certain types of crimes are: aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, child molestation, forcible rape, manslaughter, attempted murder and murder. And she also felt no need to mention that, as reported in The Oregonian on July 18 and October 6, 2000, her sons are serving Measure 11 time for murdering a perfect stranger, Bill Hull of Sunny Valley, Oregon. After shooting him in the head, they used his car to take their girlfriends on a date.
Cain goes on to write:
"In the juvenile system, youth receive age-appropriate education, treatment, counseling and support. In the adult system, these services have been drastically cut back or eliminated altogether. When they exist, they aren't geared to young offenders."
As the mother of two murderers, Cain knows or should know that all juveniles convicted of Measure 11 crimes are sent to the Oregon Youth Authority, not to adult prison. They can stay there until they are released or reach age 25. At the OYA, they live in cottages, receive education, treatment, and counseling, and participate in sports and other activities.
Even worse than Cain's omissions and misrepresentations were some of the comments about her op ed on the Statesman-Journal web site. One post was from "geoffsugs", apparently from Geoff Sugerman, an official of the "Partnership for Safety and Justice", a prisoner advocacy group formerly and more honestly known as the Western Prison Project. Sugerman wrote:
"Remember, the bare minimum sentence for a measure 11 offense is 60 months. And that can apply under Measure 11 to shoplifting, getting into a fight at a school function or doing something really stupid while driving a car. Again, these kids should be held accountable, but to saddle them with an adult felony conviction for the rest of their life only creates a life of difficulty and hardship that often leads that person back to prison."
Sugerman has been involved in trying to get criminals out of prison and trying to dismantle Measure 11 for many years. He should know that shoplifting is not a Measure 11 crime, that getting into a fight at school is not a Measure 11 crime unless the fight was really an attack that caused serious physical injury or caused injury using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and that doing something stupid while driving a car is not a Measure 11 crime unless you maim or kill someone while driving recklessly, usually drunk or on drugs. His comments are simply deceptive. For a person of his position to make such misrepresentations is inexcusable.
Furthermore, the minimum sentence for a Measure 11 offense is not 60 months, it is zero months. Under Senate Bill 1049, under some circumstances, judges can exempt criminals convicted of Assault II, Kidnapping II and Robbery II and can sentence them all the way down to probation (no prison time).
Under House Bill 2379, under some circumstances, judges can make exemptions for Rape II, Sodomy II, Unlawful Sexual Penetration II and Sex Abuse I.
These exemptions are more often available to juvenile criminals than to adults. If the criminal is not eligible for an exemption, the minimum sentence is 70 months, not 60 months as Sugerman wrote.
In the October 6, 2008 issue of The Oregonian, the paper endorsed John Kroger for Attorney General. The endorsement included this passage:
"During the primary, Kroger seemed unfortunately committed to the Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentences, a system that needs reconsideration for both practical and financial reasons. At some point, Kroger might be open to re-examining Measure 11 juvenile sentences and the inclusion of certain consensual sex acts. There is no sense to a seven-year sentence for a 17-year-old with a 15-year-old girlfriend."
Here is a letter that Crime Victims United sent to The Oregonian in response.
You have once again displayed a stunning and persistent ignorance of Measure 11. In your endorsement of John Kroger (October 5), you write "There is no sense to a seven-year sentence for a 17-year-old with a 15-year-old girlfriend."
Willing sex between a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old is not a Measure 11 crime. In fact, it is not a crime at all.
You write that Measure 11 is "a system that needs reconsideration for both practical and financial reasons". Measure 11 has been reconsidered and improved. One of the improvements gave judges discretion in cases of willing sex between 18-year-olds and 13-year-olds. Other improvements gave judges discretion in all second-degree violent crimes and sex offenses and in Sex Abuse I cases when certain findings are made. Articles and editorials in The Oregonian consistently ignore these changes which were passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1997 and 2001.
Your readers assume that you know what you're talking about when you they read your editorials. You should not print your misconceptions as if they were fact.
In the September 25, 2009 issue of The Oregonian, writing about the Rodriguez and Buck decisions of the Oregon Supreme Court, the editorial board distorted Measure 11 again:
"We would caution against reading too much into Thursday's ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court that in 'rare circumstances' Oregon's trial court judges can impose lesser sentences than the tough mandatory minimums required by voter-approved Measure 11."
"This is, at most, only a faint crack in the heavy, blunt tool that is Measure 11. The two cases at issue indeed demonstrate the deep unfairness and outrageous inequities created by a one-size-fits-all sentencing structure."
"But there is more to be done. The Rodriguez and Buck cases show that Oregon's criminal sentences remain largely blind to the relationship between the severity of the penalty, the gravity of the offense and the criminal record of the defendant. There was a time when that would have shocked the senses of every Supreme Court justice."
Crime Victims United responded with this letter to the editor:
Crime Victims United agrees that Measure 11 needs modification in the areas of non-forcible Sex Abuse I and non-forcible second-degree sex offenses. That is why we proposed and supported legislation on this issue five times since 1997. The most recent proposal, HB 3341 in the 2009 legislature, was defeated like all of the others. Measure 11 opponents, including The Oregonian, failed to support our efforts to provide additional discretion to judges in these cases.
When you write "these two cases demonstrate the deep unfairness and outrageous inequities created by a one-size-fits-all sentencing structure", you are demonstrating a failure to understand or a failure to acknowledge how Measure 11 works despite our repeated attempts to explain this to you in numerous editorial board meetings. According to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, in 2007 40 percent of adult defendants convicted of second-degree Measure 11 crimes received sentences below the Measure 11 mandatory minimum. For juveniles aged 15 to 17 it is 56 percent. How do you square this with your "one-size-fits-all" rhetoric?
You write that these cases "show that Oregon's criminal sentences remain largely blind to the relationship between the severity of the penalty and the gravity of the offense". Again you demonstrate total ignorance of how Measure 11 works. These cases were anomalies that could have been prevented had Measure 11 opponents supported our modification proposals. The fact that two out of thousands of Measure 11 sentences have been ruled disproportionate in no way supports your outrageous conclusion.
Prior to Measure 11, sentences that "shocked the moral sense" were commonplace. It was common for sexual assault and child molestation convictions to result in probation sentences. A case in point is Joel Courtney. Murderers routinely received 8 years in prison. It was voters outrage over such sentences that led to Measure 11.
A very small number of avoidable anomalies notwithstanding, Measure 11 has realigned Oregon's criminal sentencing with the values of Oregonians if not with the values of The Oregonian.
In a May 25, 2010 op ed in The Oregonian, Oregon Criminal Justice Commissioner Mike Burton wrote:
Measure 11 specifies certain crimes – from murder to second-degree robbery – carry a mandatory sentence. It applies to all defendants over the age of 15, requiring juveniles over 15 charged with these crimes to be tried as adults. The sentencing judge cannot give a lesser sentence than that prescribed by Measure 11, nor can a prisoner's sentence be reduced below the minimum for parole or good behavior.
Crime Victims United responded with this Oregon Live post:
Despite Mr. Burton's characterization of Measure 11 as a "one-strike-and-your out" law, there are exceptions for all second-degree Measure 11 crimes and for Sex Abuse I. And these exceptions are frequently used. In 2007, according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, roughly 40 percent of adults and 56 percent of juveniles convicted of second-degree Measure 11 crimes were sentenced below the Measure 11 mandatory minimum - many of them receiving probation sentences. And despite Mr. Burton's claim, these sentences were made or approved by judges and the offenders were eligible for earned time.
More on Burton's Op Ed
In his June 25, 2010 "Reset" speech Governor Kulongoski painted a misleading picture of corrections in Oregon.
The response from Crime Victims United can be found here.
Top | Home | Search