Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Appointments and Elections

For the past three years I've served on the American Bar Association's (ABA) Criminal Justice Leadership Council (CJS) , a group of about 30 lawyers of whom about 10 are prosecutors. That term expired has just expired and I've been notified that I was nominated and elected to a second three-year term, this time as Vice Chair-at-Large to the group. 

I'm serving my fifth year on the governing Executive Committee of the National District Attorneys Association and have recently been designated to once again serve as the Oregon State delegate to the NDAA's Board of Directors. I am a former Vice-President of NDAA which gives me an automatic spot on the Board, but as the official Oregon delegate I can bring the perspective of smaller offices like Clatsop County to national issues. 

NDAA's Board and State Delegates traditionally meet in Washington, DC in late January or early February. This is when I take the opportunity to meet with Oregon's Congressional delegation -- this year I was able to meet with all seven. The trip coincided with the elegant, formal swearing in of our newly elected 1st District Congresswoman, Suzanne Bonamici. The picture below was taken outside her office just prior to her swearing in. Suzanne's staff graciously arranged for me to watch from the proceedings from the Speaker's Gallery. The entire House was on the floor, along with Senators Wyden and Merkley. It was quite impressive.

I also continue to serve as the United States delegate to the International Association of Prosecutors

It's a great honor to represent the North Coast and Oregon in both national and international organizations. I'm particularly pleased to be part ABA leadership since prosecutors historically have had little contact with the largest national lawyers group in America. I want to thank Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes for inviting me to join and nominating me to the ABA leadership.

As always, none of my out-of-state travel is paid for by Clatsop County taxpayers.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Suspect arrested in Astoria Police shooting

Official News Release from the Clatsop County District Attorneys Office, February 17, 2012, approximately 3:30pm.

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Detectives of the Oregon State Police have arrested 37-year-old Yevgeniy Pavlovich Savinskiy of Washougal, Washington on an Information filed in Clatsop County Circuit Court. He is being charged with 13 counts including two counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder, two counts of Attempted Assault in the First Degree, Felony Attempt to Elude, Identity Theft, and Attempted Possession of a Firearm Silencer, Attempted Possession of a Destructive Device and five counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person. The first 6 counts are felonies, carrying sentences ranging from 5 to 20 years in prison, and the last 7 charges are misdemeanors carrying a possible one year jail sentence. The first two counts are Measure 11 allegations, carrying a 10-year mandatory prison terms if convicted.

Savinskiy had just been released from a Portland hospital where he had been treated for gunshot wounds in his wrist and shoulder resulting from a confrontation with Astoria Police in the early evening of Sunday, February 12.  Astoria Police had gone to the Lamplighter Motel on Marine Drive in Astoria when hotel staff had become concerned about items in a room they had found. Police found what appeared to be a silencer - a device that is illegal without a special permit from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Officers asked hotel staff to notify them if the man, who had checked in under another name, returned. He returned about 5:30 pm Sunday evening.

When uniformed officers attempted to contact him, he met them at the door of his room by pointing a loaded handgun at them. Two officers fired several rounds, at least two of which struck Savinskiy. Although bleeding profusely, Savinskiy got into a silver Chrysler van, rented under yet another name at Portland International Airport, and took officers from several Clatsop County Police Agencies on a high speed chase down US Highway 101 at speeds up to 110 mph. Sheriff's Deputies and an Astoria Police Sergeant deployed spike strips and used a tactical maneuver with a police car to stop the van near the junction of US Highways 101 and 26. Savinskiy was taken into custody there without further incident and transported by ambulance to Columbia Memorial Hospital where he was stabilized before being transported to a Portland trauma center.

The investigation, directed by an Oregon State Police detective and aided by members of the Clatsop County Major Crime Team - made up of officers from all the police agencies in the county and agents from several federal law enforcement organizations, continue to conduct an investigation into both the shooting and possible crimes by Savinskiy. A search warrant yielded an assault rifle that matched the same ammunition found earlier Sunday by Astoria Police and numerous other items.

Savinskiy told police he was in business and carried a gun to protect himself because he had received death threats. Court records show that Savinskiy and a company, believed to be associated with him, are being sued for approximately $8 million dollars. Police have information that former customers are looking for Savinskiy. Since the suspect used several different names and expressed concern for his safety, authorities were reluctant to release his identity while he was still in the hospital.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Clatsop County Circuit Court on Tuesday, February 21 at 1:15 pm in Courtroom 300 (NOTE: Requests for camera access needs to be addressed to the Clatsop County Circuit Court at 503-325-8555). It is expected that a Grand Jury will consider charges against Savinskiy sometime next week and if Indicted he would be arraigned again.

At this time security is set at $10,000,000.00. Under Oregon law that requires the posting of one-tenth of that amount ($1 million) in cash.

For further information contact the Clatsop County District Attorney.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

News release on Astoria police shooting

This is the text of the official news release issued by the Clatsop County District Attorney's Office, Tuesday, January 14, 2012, about 4:00pm.


The multi-agency investigation into Sunday’s officer-involved shooting in Astoria is continuing. The following is an update on the investigation involving the Clatsop County Major Crime Team led by the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigations Division. Federal investigators and forensic investigation teams from Oregon State Police and FBI are assisting. 
The suspect is a Washougal, Washington area man. Although we believe we have finally conclusively identified him we are not releasing his name for security reasons at this time. We ask the media not to speculate or identify any particular hospital. Once charged his full name and date of birth will be released. For similar reasons, we are not releasing the name of the hospital treating him. His condition has been described as stable. He was shot twice. 
Astoria officers were first called by employees of the Lamplighter Motel at around noon on February 12. Officers found evidence that the occupant of the room had been manufacturing a silencer. Officers also seized military-type ammunition for an assault rifle. Astoria police contacted federal authorities because of possible federal law violations related to the found items. After leaving the motel Astoria police were notified by motel employees that the suspect had returned. Two police units with a total of three officers arrived back at the motel about 5:30 p.m. where they saw the suspect’s Chrysler van parked near the room. The rented van and a second motel room rented by the suspect were both under different names, neither of which matched what we believe now to be his true identity. 
Initial information indicated the suspect fired his weapon at officers during the incident. As the investigation unfolds, witnesses contacted by investigators at the hotel have confirmed that the suspect extended his arm and a handgun toward the officers from the threshold of his motel room. Forensic evidence indicates both officers fired at least once at the suspect. Physical evidence at this time has not conclusively established that the suspect shot at the officers.  The investigation will continue over the course of the next several days. 
Further interviews of the officers involved and further forensic testing will attempt to determine if the suspect fired his weapon. If the suspect did not fire his weapon the charges against him will likely not include attempted murder but will still include numerous felonies. 
Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis explained that there are currently no plans to present the issue of the officer’s use of deadly force to a grand jury.  However a grand jury will consider possible charges against the suspect.“The investigation and evidence thus far reflects the officers had good reason to perceive a heightened threat level when they returned to the motel. Under Oregon law, police officers are not required to wait to be shot at before they protect themselves or others, the same standard that applies to others” said Marquis. 
Pursuant to the officer shooting protocols in place, the investigation of the shooting is not being conducted by Astoria officers. 
A blood-soaked handgun was also recovered next to the suspect when he was arrested following the chase by officers from the scene. The high speed chase was reached speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. During the execution of a search warrant of the suspects hotel room, an assault rifle, the same caliber as the ammunition earlier seized, load bearing vests containing magazines for the rifle and other items were also seized. 
The Astoria Police Department Officers involved in this incident are not yet being identified. The officers have four and thirteen years of police experience. 
Both officers remain on administrative leave in accordance with the Clatsop County Officer Involved Shooting protocol, which does not indicate any judgment as to the appropriateness of their actions. 
The next release of information is likely to come within the next few days when the suspect is released from the hospital at which time he will likely be arrested, charged, and taken into police custody. 
The Clatsop County Major Crimes Team is comprised of investigative personnel from Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, Astoria Police Department, Warrenton Police Department, Cannon Beach Police Department, Seaside Police Department, District Attorneys Office and Oregon State Police. 
"We will continue to analyze all the evidence," Marquis said, thanking the Evidence Response Team of the Portland FBI, the several other federal agencies that helped, as well as the members of the Clatsop County Major Crime Team who continue the investigation under the leadership of a state police detective.
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[Read the subsequent news release re arrest of police shooting suspect.]