Friday, August 14, 2020

How the Oregon legislature betrayed Oregon voters in 2019
                                        (But not Senator Betsy Johnson!)

The vile duplicity headed by Speaker Kotek, abetted by catatonic Uncle Peter and until recently orchestrated by Jennifer Williamson, is truly disturbing. All the worse because the OREGONIAN, OPB and other of the larger news mediums either fail to cover or have adopted such obviously biased, "woke" narratives that it would be funny if it weren't so serious.

A couple of past examples, and greatest hits still coming:
First were massive changes to criminal sentencing very late in the session and all pre-cooked.

Measure 11 was first passed by a citizen-based group that did not even have the endorsement (or opposition) of the state's DAs (I had just been first appointed/then elected that year), It was under constant assault for six years, culminating in Measure 94, led by many major lights who like to call themselves "progressives," (the usual suspects, Floyd Prozanski, Joann Hardesty/Bowman/ Chip Shields, etc. They put together a slick and well,-funded campaign in 2000 to repeal M-11. This time most DAs, myself among the most outspoken, pushed back hard. We even got different reporters and editors (than now) to do a story about how many of the "real scenarios" supposedly showcasing terrible injustice under M11 were in fact either totally made up, or from other states with different laws.

Measure 94 was defeated by a massive 3 to 1 margin - 73-27%, a fact NEVER mentioned in today's stories that seek to tie the measure to as distant a past as possible and assign Kevin Mannix all credit, and blame.

Measure 11 also automatically "remanded" juvenile killers and rapists into adult court, although except for manslaughter in the first degree (10 years) and murder (25 years) all other charges (rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping, Assault 1 and 2) had sentences so that even if the convicted felon were 17 when convicted, they could do their entire sentence at the Oregon Youth Authority and never see the State Prison. The law also went a long way at erasing racial and economic inequities that occurred when white, upper-middle class judges had previously been far more willing to grant probation to someone who looked like their son than the poor Hispanic convicted of the same serious felony. Oh, and crime plummeted under M-11 at rates even higher than other parts of America.

Capital Punishment, while always controversial, was used exceedingly sparingly by prosecutors and even more so by juries.. Oregon's small death row was overwhelmingly white and male (only one woman on it). I  I prosecuted at least 10 potential;l capital murders, only sought death in two cases, and only got death for one defendant (3 times, Randy Guzek).

Now, move to the 2019 session. No more Hardy Myers as AG to advocate for victims, the Oregon Police Chiefs (OACP) and Sheriffs (OSSA) have completely sold out in exchange for big salaries and anti-police union legislation. ODAA "leadership" simply avoids all controversy.

The legislature schedules "Invited Testimony Only" hearings brimmed to packed with the same opponents as 20 years ago to Measure 11, this time concentrating on the juvenile aspect. There was virtually no real debate. I watched every minute of hearings, debate and vote online.

Yet even with late hearings, they needed 2/3rd votes to overturn the change in the Oregon Constitution. So they promised four GOP legislators from rural Oregon various gifts on the infamous Christmas Tree bill, in exchange for the exact number of votes needed to overturn M-11. They did not have all the Democrats, so supposed GOP leader Mike McLane. In a stunning "please don't throw me in the briar batch" speech, McLane was either mentally retarded or more likely deliberately throwing the vote and he gave the vaguest of lip service to "what the ODAA wanted" (a phrase calculated to inflame legislators who loathed DAs). The whole debate was a farce, as Kotek and Williamson and pre-purchased four Republicans (all from districts that had reaffirmed by 4 to 1 or greater the voters' support for Measure 11), put a quick end to the 25 year old reform (yes, it was a REFORM, a leveling of the field, a truth in sentencing measure that gave victims a seat at the table). 

McLane didn't vote FOR the repeal, but he guided the missile in and delivered the coup de grace. By incredible coincidence he was rewarded with a judicial appointments by Brown, was appointed Mclane without him even having to compete with the applicants who actually filed applications and were interviewed.  Just days after delivering the repeal of M-11, Gov. Brown  appointed Mcklane to a vacant spot  as Circuit Judge in Crook and Jefferson Counties. Records show Mclane was exempted from the application process.

Now that M-11 was toast (because a large part of the constitutional amendment had been "broken" by a 2/3rd vote, most legal scholars - myself included - believe that destroying the adult part of Measure 11 (the part that requires rapists actually serve 8 years, child molesters serve 5, and murderers serve 25) can be killed off with simply majority votes in the 2021 session, if not sooner given this legislature zeal to expand one day special sessions to settle old political scores.

Next up was Oregon;'s death penalty. SB 1013 was either the worst bill ever drafted in its extreme confusion, or a brilliantly worded time bomb intended to destroy Oregon;'s death penalty, in existence in its present form since two popular votes, first in 1977, then again in 1984. Led by now politically radioactive Jennifer Williamson (who at the time thought she could have her pick of Secretary of State or Attorney General) Williamson knew she'd never get the 2/3rd votes to overturn the vote of the people. So instead she had a new plan, technically amending, and greatly limiting capital punishment. In theory.

In reality, the goal was to cripple the death penalty, limiting it to circumstances that were unlikely to ever occur. So murdering a judge or juror  was no longer a capital crime, nor was killing four people as part of a family slaughter. The new law allows prosecution for terrorist murders, but only if the terrorists were part of an ORGANIZED group (like Al Qaeda) and they killed two or more people.  Under this new definition the Oklahoma bomber would NOT qualify for capital murder, nor would the man I convicted in 2002 of torturing a woman to death, who had already been convicted of another homicide (Anthony Garner). In fact, of the 34 people on Oregon's death row, only 3 would be eligible under the new rules.

Filed at the last minute, SB 1013 got very little discussion, but concerns that the bill would be retroactive were met with on the record assurances by both Williamson and Solicitor General Ben Gutman that the bill was absolutely not retroactive. The bill didn't reach a vote until ten days before sine die and it passed the House 33 to 26, VOTING NO were --Barker, Barreto, Boles, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Clem, Drazan, Evans, Findley, Hayden, Helt, Leif, Lewis, McKeown, Meek, Mitchell, Nearman, Post, Reschke, Smith DB, Smith G, Sprenger, Wallan, Wilson, Witt, Zika; Then on June 29, just two days before the session ended it passed the Senate by a 17 to 10 vote .
 Senate by a 17 to 10 votes ( NO VOTERS Baertschiger Jr, Bentz, Boles, Hansell, Heard, Johnson, Knopp, Olsen, Thatcher, Thomsen;) 

It was signed gleefully by the Governor in a private, invitation only ceremony, attended by legislators who engineered it and leading opponents of capital punishment.

THEN things started getting interesting. Just a month later the OREGONIAN's Noelle Crombie reported that despite specific assurances from, Gutman. AG Ellen Rosenblum's top lawyer, and assurances from the bill's sponsor, Jennifer Williamson, that it turned out the law, now part of state code, was in fact retroactive, meaning any of the 30-odd people on death row could seek to overturn the death sentence decades after their convictions

Since several of the murderers were convicted before 1991, there was no "life without parole" option, meaning a new hearing could mean immediate release from prison since many, like Randy Guzek, sentenced to death by four different juries, had already served 32 years, and could conceivable walk out of prison. There was great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments  and even the OREGONIAN editorial board, which had switched back after years of supporting capital punishment to opposing it, called for a Special Session

Several prom inent lawmakers wrung their hands In late August Gov. Kate Brown said she would call a Special Session to fix this injustice 

It never happened.

Although Special Sessions are being called almost monthly now, in the midst of a closed Capitol and COVID-19, there just wasn't the time or energy to fix their "little mistake."

Things to look for in the 2021 regular Oregon legislative session:

The coup de grace to the rest of Measure  11.
It will no longer require a 2/3rd legislative vote and the legislature would never refer it back to voters, who would very likely re-affirm it for the third time. 
But unlike the Juvenile portion, already repealed, the rfesty of Measure 11 will be felt quickly as murderers start getting released at the 8-year mark on supposed "life sentences."
Even worse rapists and child molesters could get sentences as low as probation, with no rpskion, amd even those sentenced to prison will likely be turned lose after a couple year at most by Parole Boards, accountable to nobody but the Governor who appoints them, and hearing only information about how well the person is doing in the hyper-structured environment of the Oregon prison system.
likely racial inequities in sentencing will start to rise again as judges, may appointed by Brown, will be sympathetic to young men who are vouched for by their wealthy parents, school leaders, and clergy. Exactly the way the same groups of people rallied to save Randy Guzek, who butchered Rod and Lois Houser in their home at 3 a.m. in the summer of 1987.

But this time, it's likely to be worse than it was when many of us were younger and fired up by these injustices.

Because we are at a dark intersection of political correctness, overwhelming white guilt about racism that somehow translates into hatred of law enforcement and the call to repeal 30 years of true reform that brought justice and even equity to many crime victims, who are far our of proportion to their number are women, children, and people of color.

Joshua Marquis served 7 terms as District Attorney in Astoria from 1994 through 2018. He is past president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association and past Vice President of the National District Attorneys Association.
He can be reached at

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.




'We should expect companies like Nike ... to adapt and end their role in driving the slaughter of kangaroos.' 

Some older runners may recall a time when kangaroo skin was used in some running shoes, but are surprised to learn that, while greatly diminished, the practice still exists. A number of footwear giants, most significantly including Oregon's own Nike, the iconic brand founded by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. But Nike isn't alone in this reprehensible practice. Adidas, New Balance and Puma are among a dozen companies still using "K-leather," particularly for soccer cleats. 

Most of us find kangaroos charming. They're sociable boxers. The females carry their babies around in a pouch. They pose no threat to humans. The recent catastrophic fires in Australia called attention to these remarkable creatures, alerting the world to the effects of climate change and their fragile existence when their habitats are aflame. 

Even before the fires raged, these iconic symbols of Australia were the victims of human callousness and cruelty. The government blesses an annual massacre, conducted by commercial hunters, of upwards of 2 million kangaroos per year. The hunting practices are ruthless, often occurring at night, with the hunters shining a light on the marsupials and trying to shoot them in the head. If the victim is female, and lactating, there's an additional casualty: a "joey" yanked from the pouch and decapitated or swung by the legs onto a rock to bash in its head. 

Just as America protects the bald eagle, Australia must do better when it comes to kangaroos. The recent fires are a reminder of what's at stake. 

The state of California has banned the sale of shoes containing kangaroo leather, but buyers can still find them. But most consumers remain largely unaware of their role in wildlife exploitation, since the athletic shoe industry doesn't often explicitly label its fabrics. 

China has finally acknowledged that the rest of the world is repulsed by the dog-meat industry there, and we should expect companies like Nike, which highlight their social consciousness in advertising and as part of their corporate culture, to adapt and end their role in driving the slaughter of kangaroos. Nike and other companies already offer soccer cleats made from synthetic or plant-based fibers. There was a time when we slaughtered bison by the billions and hunted other species into extinction. That is an ugly era in our treatment of wildlife, and the kangaroo slaughter seems more than a little bit misplaced in the 21st century. 

Corporate talk of sustainability and social consciousness must have practical features. Those representations fall flat when you consider the company is behind the largest mammalian slaughter of wildlife in their native habitats in the world. 

The slaughter of kangaroos plays no legitimate role in Nike's corporate culture. It is instead something that any sane person or company would conceal and minimize. But in our era of global communications, there's no way to hide a body count of this scale. 

It's time for Nike to blaze a humane path and help push the take the entire industry out of the business of mass wildlife killing. 

Just do it. 

Joshua Marquis is director of legal affairs for Animal Wellness Action and lives in Astoria. Emily AhYou is Oregon state director of Animal Wellness Action and lives in Clackamas.


I became aware of this issue about six months ago. And it's jarring for a company like Nike, with its cutting edge marketing, technology and social attitudes, to be sourcing shoe material from wild animals trying to live their lives in their natural habitat on a continent as far from Oregon as you can get. And in the case of these kangaroos, living life means dodging wildfires some of the time, commercial shooters the rest of the time. Just not very sporting, Nike.

Animal Wellness Action Press Release

Animal Wellness Action welcomes Joshua Marquis as Director of Legal Affairs and Enforcement

For Immediate Release:
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on print
Share on email
Marquis will promote the enforcement of animal protection laws and form a national law enforcement council focused on animal issues

Washington, D.C. — Animal Wellness Action (AWA) is pleased to announce that Joshua Marquis has joined the group as Director of Legal Affairs and Enforcement. An experienced prosecutor with an accomplished record on animal protection cases, Marquis will help coordinate efforts by AWA to bring state and federal laws against animal cruelty into the 21st century and empower efforts to use the law to protect animals.


“Josh Marquis has a unique mix of skills as a trial lawyer and a fierce public advocate, bringing special skills to the task of fortifying the legal framework against animal cruelty,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “Marquis’ 35 years of commitment to fighting animal abuse and neglect will help create partnerships that cross traditional political and professional divides.”


Marquis retired in December 2018 after serving seven terms as elected District Attorney of Clatsop County (Astoria) in Oregon. He was both chief trial prosecutor and administrator of the largest law firm in the county and personally tried hundreds of jury trials, including numerous animal cruelty cases.


Marquis developed a reputation for a passion for animals during his terms as Chief Deputy District Attorney in Newport, Ore and Bend, Ore. One of his first cases in Astoria was against Vicky Kittles, a woman hoarding a school bus full of cats. Marquis made animal abuse a state legislative issue and was a driving force behind an upgrade of the state’s anti-cruelty law in the mid-1990s to make malicious cruelty a felony.


Well-known for his straight-talking nature, Marquis has testified before the Congress half a dozen times, spoken dozens of times across America on topics relating to law and contemporary society, has contributed many opinion pieces to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and others, is a regular guest on national radio and television programs, and is the author of several widely-referenced law review articles.


Marquis previously served on the Board of Directors of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). He co-chaired the Media Relations Committee for the National District Attorney’s Association, in which he remains a member. He has received national recognition for his work for his years of work advocating for more effective laws regarding animal cruelty. Marquis is a graduate of the University of Oregon Honors College and the University of Oregon Law School.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

This was my first op-ed post-election and it turned out that ANY criticism of certain legislators could lead to what is now known as "cancelation." But since I am no longer a District Attorney or an elected official, efforts to "cancel me" have left me pretty much where I always am...out standing in a field, stating my point of view, sometimes welcome, and sometimes not.
Just last week, Gov. Kate Brown greeted attendees of the biennial Justice Reinvestment Summit in Salem with a rousing cry: She will withhold state funding from county district attorneys who do not lower the number of convicted felons they send to prison.

Let me tell you what inappropriate touching feels like.

It's nothing like the prolonged hugs, the hand on the shoulder, the rubbing up against another person that is apparently rife inside the state Capitol building.

Inappropriate touching is when you come home from work and find that someone has broken into your home and ransacked the place.

Your late grandmother's jewelry — of no particular value other than sentimental — is gone, never to be seen again. The laptop you recently gave your daughter for her birthday — gone. The dresser drawers of her bureau have been pulled out, the contents sorted through and dumped on the floor.

For the next hour, you'll think of an item and wonder if they got that, too. Yes, the camera is missing. CDs, vinyl records, hiking boots, leather jacket, your old trumpet from high school marching band. Your daughter's bicycle parked in the utility room — gone.

As a former district attorney, over the years I heard victims compare burglary to what it must feel like to be raped.

"I feel violated," they would say.

Yet lawmakers, obsessed with the lingering hugs and suggestive comments cited in an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries report on sexual harassment, have no trouble dismissing the fear that comes from having the sanctity of your home invaded by strangers.

One of the most vocal lawmakers — state Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis — succeeded in driving one of her colleagues out of office for hugging her and touching her in a way that made her uncomfortable. Yet she joined with many of the state's Democrats in easing criminal sentencing of serious felonies — including burglary.

In 2017, she and many other Democrats voted to approve HB 3078, to reduce criminal sentences for property crimes.

Just last week, Gov. Kate Brown greeted attendees of the biennial Justice Reinvestment Summit in Salem with a rousing cry: She will withhold state funding from county district attorneys who do not lower the number of convicted felons they send to prison.This governor gladly signed HB 3078 into law. She will ease off thieves, but she will go after prosecutors. Brown uttered not one word about the harm property criminals do to people trying to hang on to what they have.

One of the few times in my career that a jury came back smiling was in a burglary case I tried as a young prosecutor in Newport. The victim was a 25-year-old waitress who lived in a trailer with two cats. She befriended a man down on his luck and let him stay with her. He quickly became abusive. She told him to leave.

She came home one day and found that he had broken in, torn the place apart, killed both of her cats and smeared their blood on the walls.

The jury was happy to convict. The man got a 20-year sentence but served about two. That was in 1986.

Today, he could claim either a substance abuse problem or mental illness. He could be cut loose and offered services — courtesy of justice reinvestment, a concept embraced by lawmakers who flinch at an inappropriate touch.

Joshua Marquis served from 1994 through 2018 as district attorney of Clatsop County and served four years on the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. He can be reached at