9/3/23 News Update


<<A majority of Oregon voters believe its law to decriminalize drugs should be repealed, according to an August poll.

An Emerson College poll of 1,000 registered Oregon voters found that 56% support a complete repeal of Measure 110, a ballot initiative that decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs such as heroin, meth and fentanyl. The measure, which made possession punishable by a maximum $100 fine, passed in 2020 with 58% of voters backing it.

A Portland-area drug and alcohol counselor said voters were misled about the reasons behind Measure 110.

“It is part of a radicalized social justice movement that gives a person a right to use known as bodily autonomy,” Kevin Dahlgren told Fox News.

“It has very little to do with helping a person recover.”

“It is about a person having the right to do anything they want without consequences,” he added.

Oregon is the only state where personal use amounts of most hard drugs are decriminalized.

Gov. Tina Kotek signed a law in July creating a misdemeanor charge for people who posses between 1 and 5 grams of fentanyl, the deadliest drug in the state. Possession of five to 24 pills was also made a misdemeanor that can carry a year jail sentence.

Two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to cause a fatal overdose, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A majority of most racial groups also supported a full repeal of Measure 110, including about two-thirds of Hispanics or Latinos and African Americans alike and just over half of White voters, according to the Emerson College poll. Less than half of Asian American or Pacific Islanders voters surveyed were in favor of repeal, but nearly 71% of multiracial voters wanted Measure 110 reversed.

“The truth has finally been exposed and thankfully now a majority of Oregonians support its repeal,” Dahlgren said. “Common sense is returning and gives me hope we can slow the spread of this epidemic.”

A Portland-based trial attorney, Kristin Olson, previously expressed similar sentiments.

“Oregon has turned into an international spectacle and I think we looked at each other and realize that we made an enormous mistake,” Olson, who voted in favor of the ballot initiative, told Fox News in May.

An even larger majority of voters — nearly two-thirds — supported repealing parts of Measure 110 to restore penalties for possessing drugs, according to the poll. Only 36% said it should be left as is.

The poll, released Aug. 23, also found that 54% of voters believe Measure 110 increased homelessness in their communities, while 50% said the measure makes communities much less safe.

Overdoses in Oregon increased between November 2021 to November 2022 by nearly 4.58%, surpassing the national average by over sevenfold, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I don’t think Oregonians want to restart the drug war,” Olson added. “I think we didn’t realize that what we were signing up for was the deterioration of civilized norms and the public spaces being ceded to people in late stage drug addiction and engaged in all sorts of criminal activity to keep that addiction going.”

When polled on how drug decriminalization impacts their decision at the ballot box, 41% of respondents said they were more likely to vote for a lawmaker if they vote to repeal the measure, while 33% said they would be less inclined and 25% said such a vote would have no impact.

The poll consists of data collected between Aug. 8-9 and has a 3% margin of error.>>



<<A self-described “sergeant of arms” for the Proud Boys and a member of the far-right extremist group were sentenced to a combined 28 years in federal prison for their roles in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

Ethan Nordean, a leader of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors on Friday called him the “undisputed leader on the ground” during the Jan. 6 attack.

Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys that became one of the more recognizable faces of the riot at the Capitol, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and three years supervised release.

In his address to Pezzola and Nordean, Judge Timothy Kelly called the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol “a national disgrace.”

Yet, his sentencing decision Friday is half of what prosecutors sought for Pezzola and nine years less for Nordean. The punishment reflects the seriousness of what he was convicted of, Kelly said.

Nordean coordinated members’ storming of the Capitol all with the aim of interrupting the Electoral College certification of President Biden’s victory, prosecutors said. They also said that in weeks leading up to Jan. 6, Nordean used social media to add new members to the Proud Boys, raised money and collected military-style equipment.

Kelly said his sentence reflects Pezzola’s lesser role in comparison to his co-defendants and his conduct that day and that his actions that day “warrant significant deterrence.”

In his plea for leniency to the court, Pezzola said he had given up politics, yet as he was being escorted out of the courtroom he shouted, “Trump won!”

Pezzola became known for taking a shield from a police officer during the riots and using it to bash in a Capitol window, allowing other members of the mob to rush into the building.

He was convicted of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and robbery involving government property. Unlike his co-defendants in the Proud Boys seditious conspiracy case, Pezzola was acquitted of that charge.

Though its far less than what prosecutors were looking for, the two penalties doled out Friday are in line with that of their co-defendants, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl who heard their punishment Thursday. Biggs received 17 years and Rehl, 15 years — roughly half of what prosecutors had sought for the two.

Nordean’s penalty matches that of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes in his separate seditious conspiracy conviction for his actions during Jan. 6.>>

<<Nordean admitted to being a leader of the Proud Boys on that day, but said, “I came to keep people safe.” However, he noted, he had several opportunties to deescalate the situation.

“I chose to do nothing,” he said.

In his plea to Judge Kelly and before his outburst, Pezzola was far more emotional. He said he stood before the court “a changed man.”

He cried as he addressed his two daughters and his wife. He expressed deep regret for leaving his wife to care for their family and for missing major events in his daughters’ lives.

To Judge Kelly he said: “I stand before you with a heart full of regret.”

He said, regarding his actions on Jan. 6, “This was the worst, most regrettable decision of my life. I fully realize the gravity of my actions.”>>

<<Kelly had previously said that he weighed the sentences of other Jan. 6 defendants and was working to avoid large sentencing disparities. This is part of why he gave sentences far below guidelines and the government’s recommendations.

But one of Pezzola’s defense attorneys, Roger Roots, filed a late sentencing memoranda for his client the morning of the hearing. In the filing, Roots warned against “a growing danger in Federal Courts of severe sentencing disparities” between Jan. 6 rioters and “left wing rioters.”

Kelly said sentencing is a “serious and solemn thing,” that the tardy filing was “inappropriate” given its lateness and struck it from the record.>>