6/3/2023 News Roundup


<<Top judges for the state and Multnomah County have separately released new rules keeping habitual theft suspects, accused fraudsters and serious hate crime suspects in jail until they go before a judge.

Oregon Chief Justice Megan Flynn on Wednesday ordered Circuit Courts and sheriffs across the state to hold anyone charged with a first-degree bias crime, the legal term for a hate crime, until their first appearance in court.

Previously, those charged with a first-degree bias crime generally were released with conditions before a judge got the case.

In a separate order last week, Multnomah County Presiding Judge Judith Matarazzo issued a county-specific rule that will automatically keep any person charged with a fraud or theft of more than $100 in jail prior to arraignment — if the defendant has already racked up three previous arrests or convictions in three years involving theft or fraud.>>

<<The screw-tightening changes to the pretrial release rules come after state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 48 in 2022, which did away with the set of standardized bail amounts in favor of new classifications that detain people based on the severity of the crime.

Under those rules, the lowest-level suspects can walk out of jail hours after their arrest by promising to return for their next court date.

Those facing middle-tier crimes have various conditions imposed, such as checking in with a supervision officer by phone or in person. Serious crime suspects are held until they can appear before a judge.

The judge at arraignment – when defendants hear charges against them and typically enter a plea – might still release the person with conditions but could alternatively set bail or detain the defendant until a bail hearing.

Matarazzo included a similar three-strike rule for those arrested in stolen car cases when she first implemented the new classifications under Senate Bill 48.

Aaron Knott, policy director for the Multnomah County district attorney, praised the new theft and fraud rule as a way to curb shoplifting but cautioned that piling on too many strict release rules could cause the jail population to spike dramatically.>>

<<And there is one more change afoot in the criminal justice system as Multnomah County on Thursday became the first county in Oregon to adopt a new algorithm that will set supervision levels for those who aren’t kept behind bars prior to arraignment.

The new Public Safety Assessment, which is used in 200 other jurisdictions nationwide, is an actuarial program based on nine factors, including age, prior convictions, missed court dates and the current offense.>>



<<Portland won’t be implementing gunshot detection technology anytime soon.

Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Friday, June 2, that he and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell decided not to move forward with the technology, which would have seen acoustic sensors placed on utility poles in targeted areas of the city.

The city will instead rely on a partnership with Cure Violence Global, to implement a Portland Ceasefire program.

“The Mayor and Chief determined now was not the time to proceed with a pilot proposal for [gunshot detection technology],” a statement from the mayor’s office reads. “This decision was based on community input, current staffing challenges at PPB, and the City’s plan to move forward with building our comprehensive gun violence strategy through Portland Ceasefire, partnership with Cure Violence Global to expand our street level outreach, and ongoing Office of Violence Prevention investments.”>>

<<The ceasefire program will bring in the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform to help train police on combing over shooting incident reports and finding patterns or key data that could help prevent future gun violence. It will also dole out millions in funding to community organizations aimed at gun violence prevention. The Portland Ceasefire plan will also lean on Cure Violence Global’s community-based violence interruption tactics.

According to Cure Violence, the organization uses a public health approach, viewing violence “through an epidemiological lens, as a learned, transmissible behavior, which can be interrupted.”

The organization trains selected groups and “credible messengers” within a community, to identify and limit conflict, as part of a holistic approach to building healthy social norms, according to CVG’s evidence summaries. >>

<<An analysis of Portland’s gun violence problem conducted in 2020 concluded the majority of homicides involved “high-risk social networks” and the vast majority of victims and suspects were adults with previous involvement in the criminal justice system.>>

<<Before abandoning plans for the technology, the city commissioned Portland State University’s Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute to help poll a random sample of 23 neighborhoods that are most susceptible to gun violence, based on past police data.

Households were surveyed on whether they knew about the city’s consideration of a pilot program and whether the city should go forward with one. City commissioners also sent the poll to community groups, business and neighborhood associations, and staffers at City Hall.

Overall, the majority of those surveyed opposed gunshot detection technology. Those with more knowledge of the program and technology were more likely to be opposed, according to the survey results.>>



<<Vancouver Police Chief Jeff Mori says his agency will release body camera footage that officers wore this week when they shot and killed a man at a shopping center, though the release date is unclear.

Video captured by a bystander has already surfaced on social media showing multiple armed officers running through a parking lot, confronting someone outside a grocery store and quickly firing a volley of shots.

Many questions remain, such as who the man was and to what extent police had been investigating him. In a news release after the shooting, Vancouver police called the man a suspect in multiple armed robberies and said he fired first at officers. The man is not visible in the social media footage.>>

<<Three Vancouver police officers and a Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire outside a grocery store, according to police statements.>>

<<The incident marked the first time for law enforcement in Southwest Washington that body-worn cameras captured a shooting. The city spent $5.5 million on a contract with Arizona-based company Axon Enterprises last fall and began wearing the cameras in February.>>