A cash-saving gambit that jeopardized a drug enforcement policy popular with Portland businesses has paid off for Mayor Charlie Hales. For now.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill tells the Mercury he has decided to continue support of the city's Drug Impact Area (DIA) program. Underhill had been weighing in recent months whether to keep a prosecutor focused on the program—an initiative spurred by the city, but one which Hales elected not to fund this budget cycle. The city for years footed the bill for a prosecutor whose attention was focused on convincing judges to exclude certain drug offenders from Old Town, Downtown or the Lloyd District (and sometimes all three). That funding disappeared in the mayor's efforts to close a $21.5 budget hole.
"I think we can be adults about this," Hales told me in June. "This is not a vote of no-confidence in the work. It's a question of who pays for it."
Underhill previously decided to stay involved through the summer (when his office benefits from intern labor). Part of that decision was based on clamor from Portland's business community, which loves the DIA program, and credits the policy for reducing blatant, daytime drug use outside of downtown businesses. Earlier this month, the prosecutor announced to the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) he'd further extend DIA prosecutions until December before re-evaluating.
"Because of the tremendous success of the DIA program I am committed to trying to continue our participation in this area," Underhill wrote in a July 5 letter [pdf] to PBA President and CEO Sandra McDonough. "Therefore, despite the loss of funding for the position at this time and the demands in other important areas of prosecution work, I will commit to our continued participation through at least the end of this calendar year."
According to numbers provided in early June, the DIA program resulted in almost 1,050 exclusions in its first two years. That number includes drug offenders who've been given multiple exclusion—one guy had five.
The DIA policy is the
ancestor descendant of much-maligned Drug Exclusion Zones, which didn't require a conviction to enforce. The zones were killed in 2007 amid concerns they unfairly targeted minorities.
The people working on Multnomah County's jail overcrowding problem are quick to say there's no easy explanation for how the jail population's gotten so unwieldy.
As discussed in today's issue of the Mercury, emergency releases from overcrowding shot from 82 in 2011 to more-than 900 in 2012. By the end of May this year, there were already 309.
And while it's true the issue is hugely complex, with a lot of moving parts and competing viewpoints, it seems there is, in fact, one pretty straightforward reason for the uptick: law enforcement's arresting more people.
According to newly released data, officers booked an average of almost seven more people a day into jail in 2012 compared to the prior year, but jailers released only about 4.5 more. That created an imbalance of 2.3 prisoners—which perfectly accounts for the massive uptick in emergency releases.
But of course it's more complicated.
"Why?" Portland Police Chief Mike Reese asked today, at a meeting of a county workgroup trying to solve the crowding issue. "What's causing the increase in arrests?"
"That's what we want to know, is what's driving this," said County Commissioner Judy Shiprack.
Only theories, so far, have emerged. Reese said he had the same amount of officers in 2011 and 2012, but noted that he'd beefed up resources in the bureau's Gang Enforcement Team, and also shifted efforts to property crime. Could that targeted enforcement have caused the problem?
District Attorney Rod Underhill noted there were increased reports of property crime. Maybe that contributed.
Whatever the reasons—the workgroup is trying to form more-solid hypotheses—one thing was starkly clear from today's meeting: the people the jail's releasing by the hundreds are serious offenders.
Portland's Drug Impact Areas are safe for the summer.
As the Mercury reported this week, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill has been weighing whether to pull staff from the program, which bans drug offenders from hanging around Portland's busiest drug zones.
The city has been footing the bill for dedicated prosecutor, who ensures certain drug offenders are given exclusion orders as part of their probation. But Mayor Charlie Hales pulled the plug on that funding, part of his efforts to close a $21.5 million funding shortfall.
Underhill told me this morning he's still deciding whether he'll continue to enforce the drug zones, but that an influx of summer interns has freed him up to think about it until the end of the summer.
"It's business as usual until the interns go back to school," he said. He'll return his attention to the matter in August.
Business owners are great fans of the impact areas, saying they've cut into the drug trade in areas like Old Town, where dealers have traditionally pooled. The policy is the ancestor of much-maligned Drug Exclusion Zones, which didn't require a conviction to enforce. The zones were killed in 2007 amid concerns they unfairly targeted minorities.
Since DIAs were established by then-Mayor Sam Adams in 2011, more than 1,000 exclusions have been issued, the DA's office says. Police had arrested 113 people for violating their exclusions as of December 31.
As he has with a host of other issues, Hales argued it's the county's responsibility to fund a prosecutor for the program. He told me he's confident Underhill will find the resources for continued support.
But when I told Underhill of the mayor's outlook this morning, he chose his words carefully.
"I'm glad he's confident," he said.
Multnomah County public defenders play an important role, ensuring the poorest among us receive a competent defense. It's an often-thankless job, with demanding hours and, frequently, difficult clients.
And relative to their counterparts in the prosecutor's office, the city's public defenders are paid peanuts. The divide has widened in recent decades to a point where the most-lucrative public defense positions pay roughly what a starting prosecutor makes.
The disparity — highlighted in the graph below—is now the target of a bill in Salem that will get a hearing this afternoon. House Bill 3463 requires the state to pay public defenders at a similar rate to the prosecutors they square off against in the state's court rooms.
"They literally have not gotten much of a raise since 1985," says State Rep. Jennifer Williamson, the Portland Democrat who spurred the bill. "As a first-year attorney, even at a small private firm, you're making twice that."
Which poses a problem for Oregon's public defense system—unique in that it contracts with nonprofit organizations for defense work, rather than hiring its own attorneys. Faced with more-lucrative options elsewhere and mountainous law school debt, it's not uncommon for public defenders to move on after a few years of trial experience. That, in turn, limits the quality of representation indigent defendants can expect.
"There's a lot of conversation about ways to save money in the criminal justice system right now," said Ryan Lufkin, a deputy district attorney in Multnomah County and treasurer for the Multnomah County Prosecuting Attorney's Association, which supports the legislation. "I think the cheapest way to assuage some of that is to get excellent public defenders. If you get people who can do an excellent job on the defense side of things, you really do ensure the right people are going to prison."
Williamson's bill states public defenders should be paid "at a rate equivalent to an assistant or deputy district attorney of comparable experience practicing within the same county..."
The House Judiciary Committee will take the matter up this afternoon. That pleases Williamson, who acknowledges the matter could be a tough sell this year.
"I'm just really excited we're having a hearing, frankly," she said. "It's a difficult budget time."
LAST UPDATE ON THIS 5:30 pm: Bystanders cheered when Ditto was taken into custody, according to the full police report on the incident. Read it here [PDF].
ORIGINAL STORY: Beth Ditto has been convicted of disorderly conduct, following an incident this weekend where the Gossip singer drunkenly held up traffic on Mississippi Avenue, the Mercury has learned.
Ditto— after sending her lawyer to an arraignment on the charge yesterday—appeared in court to plea no contest this morning to the violation, according to court files. It's unclear at this point how she was sentenced for the
According to Deputy District Attorney Caroline Wong, Ditto had the option to complete community service in order to have the case dismissed. Or, she could simply accept fines, which are a minimum of $435. Wong said the case file is still in the court house, and that she did not know the exact outcome.
Ditto (legal name Mary Beth Patterson) was charged with disorderly conduct after being denied service at Bungalo Bar (formerly Casa Naranja, on N Mississippi). She walked out into the street, where she attracted the attention of police officers, who took her in and booked her with the charge of second degree disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor. That charge was reduced to a violation— akin to a speeding ticket—at arraignment.
Eyewitnesses include another drinker at Bungalo who posted this account on Reddit.
Mohamed Mohamud, the young Somali-American accused of trying to blow up Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square more than two years, has been found guilty today of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction.
The Oregonian has a pretty quickly topped story up right now on the verdict, announced just after 3. The paper also says Mohamud will appeal his conviction.
The jury handed up its verdict after less than a full day of deliberations in a trial that began Jan. 10 in a downtown courtroom just a few blocks from the scene of the crime.
Mohamud, a 21-year-old Somali American, was convicted of the only charge confronting him: trying to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison. Sentencing was set for May 14.
Mohamud was never in possession of actual explosives. He was nurtured by FBI operatives mounting a sting operation—an increasingly common antiterrorism tactic. Immediately after Mohamud's arrest, entrapment emerged as a major issue. Like in other FBI terror stings, what would have been the keystone recording in the case—the recording that captured Mohamud's first meeting with operatives—was missing.
The O mentions the groundwork Mohamud's attorneys laid toward that eventual appeal.
Among the key points: U.S. District Judge Garr M. King, who presided in the case, ruled that Mohamud's lawyers could not know the true identity of the undercover agents who helped make the sting; he said giving up their names would put the agents' lives at risk and potentially damage ongoing national security cases.
By not allowing the defense to know the identities of the agents, who were allowed to use their pseudonyms at trial, the defense could make no inquiries about whether the agents had been disciplined or been found to have lied in previous cases.
After pressing this arsenal of nasty charges:
Aaron Swartz's legacy was already guaranteed, even at 26: He helped create Reddit and RSS, which distributes content over the Internet.
But his suicide by hanging Friday has also stoked a politically malignant aftermath for the prosecutors pursuing 13 felony charges against him in a trial that was set to begin in a month. Some said his death could be a watershed moment in the ongoing intellectual property debate over the things people share and create, and how they share and create them.
Swartz, an open-Internet advocate who had struggled with depression, was facing decades of prison time and charges that included wire fraud for downloading millions of articles from JSTOR, a nonprofit academic database with a paywall. JSTOR declined to press charges, but prosecutors, led by Massachusetts U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz, moved the case forward.
The Swartz family released this statement:
"Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims."
Carmen Ortiz was being a bully, trying to make an example out of Swartz. She wasn't trying to just punish him, after all; she was throwing an egregious decades-long prison term at him to prove a point. Now Ortiz is getting what she had coming: People are making an example out of her. It's a reputation Ortiz deserves as a lesson to other prosecutors (and every US attorney and US Department of Justice employee) that being overzealous in their official capacity, with all the backing of law, can result in being saddled with personal lifelong disgrace. Even prosecutors should balk, protest, or quit when the job asks them to do something immoral.
As I first reported this morning, attorneys for the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform have formally filed paperwork (PDF) asking to intervene as a defendant in the US Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Portland Police Bureau.
The civil rights group—which now joins the Portland Police Association in seeking official legal standing in the reform effort, albeit for a very different reason—is arguing the reform package, with its focus on cops' unconstitutional treatment of the mentally ill, does too little to address longstanding racial tensions between the police bureau and the community.
"The AMA is one of the better-suited organizations in town to ensure that issue is addressed," attorney J. Ashlee Albies, representing the group, told the Mercury.
Albies also told me the group wants to find out why several of the reform recommendations it submitted to federal attorneys never made it into any draft of the settlement eventually signed by the city council. AMA Chairman Dr. LeRoy Haynes Jr. pressed that case in a statement (PDF)submitted as part of the filings.
Court papers make clear that racial tension, just as much as mental health, was on the minds of the AMA when it started the call in 2010 for a federal investigation—a call picked up by Commissioner Dan Saltzman and then-Mayor Sam Adams. The settlement with the feds acknowledges racial tension but stops short of making specific recommendations to address it.
Albies' filings include traffic stop data, which the Mercury reported on last summer, as proof that the police bureau's treatment of people of color remains relevant.
Today was the deadline for groups to seek standing in the case and still be considered "timely." US District Court Judge Michael Simon, who also has promised a "fairness hearing" on the reform plan, has said he'll rule on all requests to intervene in the case next month.
The case of a Portland man accused of throwing a flaming PBR bottle at a marked Portland police car last year took an interesting turn, according to the Oregonian last night, when Sergey Turzhanskiy was ordered released by a federal judge—but told not to associate with known anarchist groups.
Apparently, it's because Turzhanskiy has received public support from anarchist groups protesting a federal investigation into May Day vandalism at a Seattle courthouse that's turned into something of political witchhunt.
In particular, he must have no contact with members of a group that a federal prosecutor called the Resist the NW Grand Jury....
A post on the Resist the NW Grand Jury's Facebook page Dec. 5 said, "Our friend Sergey has been in jail for a full month now (unrelated to the grand jury)," and asked if readers have written to him yet.
"Our concern is the defendant is a flight risk because of his serious involvement with anarchist activity, which is a threat to the community," [Assistant US Attorney Stephen] Peifer said.
Turzhanskiy's case is not directly tied to the Seattle investigation, in which the feds, right now, have three people locked up—in solitary confinement, despite facing no charges—because they refuse to answer questions about their political ties and associates. But it's another example of how concerned law enforcement has become over the word "anarchist" and, let's not forget, "Occupy." And, interestingly, the feds' anarchism hunt is, itself, spurring other reported criminal acts—like a smashed window at a Portland bank this morning.
Our siblings at the Stranger interviewed two of those three uncharged prisoners just before the holidays.
Olejnik says the prosecutor only asked her four questions about May Day, which she answered truthfully: Was she in Seattle on May Day? (No.) Where was she? (Working at her waitress/bartending job in Olympia.) Had she been in Seattle a week before or a week after May Day? (No.) Had anybody talked to her about May Day? (No. In fact, she says she learned most of what she knows about the smashup while she was in court.)...
Then, she says, the prosecutor began rattling off names and showing photographs of people, asking about their social contacts and political opinions. Olejnik guesses he asked "at least 50 questions" in that vein, compared to the four about May Day. That's when she shut down, refused to answer, was found in contempt of court, and was sent to SeaTac FDC.
The whole thing is worth a read.
Surely you remember Alien Boy, the documentary about one of the Portland Police Bureau's darkest hours, when James Chasse Jr. was brutally beaten (16 broken ribs, 26 total broken bones, 1 punctured lung) and died in police custody in 2006. Matt Davis was on the Mercury news team at the time, and covered the event and its aftermath closely, going on to join the filmmaking team. At long last, Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse is finished, and will premiere at this year's PIFF festival in February. Dates and times are still TBA. In the meantime, revisit the teaser:
Regardless to my connection to Davis as a colleague and friend, I am really looking forward to this one, and I imagine anyone who lived here during that time, anyone with concerns about the state of police/citizen relations and the mental health care system in this country (that's gotta be everyone at this point, yes?) will be too.
"Waitasecond," I hear you say. "Why does the Mercury need a lawyer?" Oh, I don't know... let me ask the filing cabinet full of cease & desist orders, lawsuits from angry people we've written about, and old, still pending restraining orders from when Matt Davis was an employee. HOWEVER! I think we've finally found a lawyer who can wipe our distressing legal slate clean. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Adam Reposa: Lawyer.
I think Oregon's protections of nudity as free speech should be a model for the rest of the country, but even places such as California ban nudity on a city-by-city basis. It seems to me that our laws around nudity work well to allow effective (and hilarious) protests like Brennan's, but haven't created a nudity spree that the authors of other states' laws probably fear.
I spelled out Oregon's laws yesterday, but here's the simple version: Our constitution states that "no law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion." While Portland and other cities have local laws banning public nudity, Brennan's is the latest in several court cases that uphold the idea that Portland's obscenity law doesn't apply when the nudity is meant symbolically as a form of protest.
The prosecution raised a decent point during yesterday's trial: What's to keep anyone arrested for indecent exposure from getting off the hook by declaring after the fact that the dong-waggling was actually a protest? But that's exactly what the role of judges and juries is—to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the person's de-briefing is actually a protest or a meaningless obscene display. This case reinforces that Oregon's law and courts are working the way they should. As Brennan said yesterday, "I was aware of the irony of taking off my clothes to protect my privacy."
In April, Portland John Brennan performed the protest that's been seared into our memory: Stripping naked for TSA at the Portland airport.
Today Brennan is on trial for his alleged lewdness, heading to Multnomah County Courthouse at 9am on charges of indecent exposure.
Brennan, hilariously, shares the same name as Obama's chief counter-terrorism adviser. No, the man in the room for the Osama Bin Laden raid is not the same man who is now selling "Expose Yourself to Liberty" t-shirts. But they're both concerned about America's response to terrorist threats, which is why Brennan might get off scot free today. Nudity is an unusually well-protected right under Oregon law and several people have tested the limits of nudity as free speech in previous court cases. Meanwhile, Brennan has been rallying support on Facebook, where he's known as "John Brennan AKA Naked American Hero."
The district attorney already reduced Brennan's misdemeanor indecent exposure charge to a violation, which means that even if he is found guilty, he will mostly likely only have to pay a fine. His trial may take a while or be delayed, so I'll update below the cut throughout the morning!
The story it's pulled from is (unsurprisingly) interesting. Last week, a local woman won a total of $900,000 in a lawsuit against a man who had given her herpes in 2010 after meeting on an online dating website. While it sounds like an unlikely situation, apparently these lawsuits aren't uncommon, but only if the person didn't know about their partner's disease before they had sex.
At the end of the trial, the woman was 25 percent guilty, while the man (whose occupation as a dentist somehow made him more blamable) was left with the remaining 75 percent by the jury, guilty of battery.
Moral of the story: Never hide herpes. Bumper stickers coming soon.
Taking the FBI to court is no piece of cake. Since June 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been fighting behind a major lawsuit filed against the FBI, claiming that the federal government's "No Fly List" is unconstitutional. What does this have to do with Portland? One of the 15 plaintiffs who have been placed on the list, Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, is a Portland resident and Portland's federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which represents the entire West Coast) is expected to be more open to the case itself.
Today, ACLU lawyers and representatives brought their arguments against the federal process to Pioneer Courthouse in front of Judge Alex Kozinski (for the second time). The main problem the ACLU has is that the list violates the right of due process, because the government does not tell people whether they've been placed on the list, why they're suspect, or provide an adequate way to get someone's name off.
"It's a sham," says ACLU spokesman David Fidanque. "The FBI tries to hide their information behind the TSA [Transportation Security Administration], but really they're the ones who can change the process."
If a person on the no fly list wants to investigate their placement, the FBI directs them to file a TSA grievance. However, says Fidanque, the TSA ultimately has no power. Thus, it creates a vicious and frustrating cycle to potentially innocent people.
"If we can't get these people off the list, the least we could ask for is an explanation as to why they're on the list," Fidangue says.
Today's hearing, while it highlighted the ACLU's arguments, was mainly meant to see if the case could even go forward in the federal court. Staying true to the glacial pace of this lawsuit, Fidanque says that it could take up to three months to get an answer. We'll follow up with the ACLU later on to see if this case has wings at the federal level.
Thanks to a potentially far-reaching ruling by Multnomah County Judge Cheryl Albrecht, a whole mess of Occupy Portland-related misdemeanor cases that had been busted down to time- and cash-saving citations, or "violations," may now have to be prosecuted as vigorously as any other criminal case.
Instead of the usual routine for so-called violation trials—hearings without a defense attorney, in front of a judge, with the threat of fine, but not jail time or probation—the Occupy defendants covered by Albrecht's ruling will now be entitled to jury trials and public defenders. And the burden of proof will rise to "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The ruling, issued late Monday, came in response to a motion by attorney Bear Wilner-Nugent, the lead attorney on a case with some 20 occupiers named as defendants. It's technically binding only on the current case before Albrecht, but it could wind up affecting dozens of other non-Occupy cases, gleeful defense attorneys tell the Mercury—under-cutting a reliable budget-stretching strategy by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office and maybe even changing the way officers interact with protesters.
"They're going to have to give our clients court-appointed lawyers," Wilner-Nugent says, "or they're going to have to dismiss the cases."
Jeff Howes, the senior deputy district attorney in charge of misdemeanor cases, didn't return a miessage seeking comment about Albrecht's ruling. Deputy District Attorney Brian Lowney said only that "we're looking it over, and we're considering our response."
While I was at City Hall for today's police accountability hearing, the Oregonian's Maxine Bernstein was minding the latest legal twist in the federal civil rights case filed against the city of Portland and four police officers involved in last year's shooting death of Aaron Campbell.
According to her story, U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman today turned down a dismissal motion by fired Portland officer Ron Frashour, the cop who actually killed Campbell by shooting him in the back with an AR-15 rifle.
But he did agree to drop charges against two other officers: Sergeants John Birkinbine and Liani Reyna. The sergeants were suspended last year because of communications gaffes that led to Campbell's death. One last officer, Ryan Lewton, who fired a beanbag at Campbell that caused him to flinch, leading Frashour to pull his trigger, remains a defendant.
In a rare show of discipline, Frashour was fired last November, with Lewton, Reyna, and Birkinbine each given 80-hour suspensions, for their roles in Campbell's death. The Portland Police Association has challenged the police bureau's discipline, including Frashour's dismissal. After months of intermittent hearings, an arbitrator is expected to rule as soon as January. The federal trial, filed by Campbell's family, is currently scheduled to start in February.
Dr. Conrad Murray, the personal physician to Michael Jackson, and who was with him on the night he died has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop king. Murray was accused of poorly administering the powerful anesthetic drug propofol to Jackson on the night of his death, which the star allegedly requested to help him sleep. From the AP:
Authorities never accused Murray of intending to kill the star, and it took eight months for them to file the involuntary manslaughter charge against him. It was the lowest possible felony charge involving a homicide.
There was no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But prosecution expert witnesses said Murray was acting well below the standard of care required of a physician.
They said using propofol in a home setting without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from that standard. They called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
On May 31, a passerby shot some footage of a fight at Portland State University between a musician selling CDs and another man who apparently didn't care for the music the first man was selling. Eventually, after filming stops, the cops got involved, reports were taken, and charges were filed.
Your mission! In the comments below, tell us anyone and everyone who you think might have been charged, and with what. Then, to see how well you did, pick up this week's paper when it hits the stands, or click over here once this week's stories go online sometime tonight.
No prize, other than feeling smart.
More fun/sad/dumb celeb tweets here.
This news story depicts Judge Phillip Kirk of Waupaca, Wisconsin giving a school bus driver the verbal smackdown for sexually abusing some kids—WHILE trying out his his new comedy act! Apparently he's one of those people who think that child molesters are also automatically homosexual... or as he puts it, "Gayer than a sweet smellin' jockstrap." He has more to say on the subject, too... and exactly what did homophobes do with people's penises back in the '40s??
Dear Mr. Judge: Don't quit your day job. Or on second thought, do.
The state appellate court published an interesting ruling today, clearing up a question I'm not sure I'd ever thought about: Should your teeth—if you use them to, say, gnaw on someone's ear—be considered a "dangerous weapon" under Oregon law?
Saying yes would open chewers and biters to first-degree assault charges—with a mandatory minimum sentence (thanks, Measure 11!) of 90 months. Saying no would mean only a second-degree assault charge—with the difference being nearly two fewer years behind bars.
The question came before the court after a defendant in Marion County appealed his first-degree ear-snacking sentence last summer. In appealing his circuit court conviction, defendant Scott Russell Kuperus looked to the law's definition of a "dangerous weapon," which relies on terms like "weapon, device, instrument, material or substance."
And a panel of appellate judges, saying only "scraps" of evidence suggest lawmakers ever intended otherwise, agreed.
A "weapon" should be viewed as something with which a person could be armed or fortified. Because a defendant does not arm himself with his own body and parts thereof, including his teeth, his own teeth cannot be considered a dangerous weapon for purposes of first-degree assault.
The lesson for all you brawlers out there? Stow your switchblades and start sharpening those canines.
When I found him, he was in Courtroom 528, part of a group of some two dozen people enduring interviews for a negligence trial involving a woman who was suing an attorney over what she alleges was faulty advice. In the few minutes I sat in the back of the courtroom, attorney John Tollefsen spoke with much of the group, including a commercial property landlord, a retired nurse, a Siltronic accountant, a former jury foreman, and a human resources executive.
After about 15 minutes or so, he finally acknowledged the familiar face in the room, asking "Mr. Mayor" whether his busy schedule and pile of responsibilities would make jury duty difficult.
"It's manageable," Adams answered. "Except for Thursday. It's the second city council meeting of the week. I have to attend. I can miss the first one."
(My ears perked up. Thursday's the day council, if Adams' office can put its proposal together in time tomorrow, is next scheduled discuss the Joint Terrorism Task Force.)
Later Tollefsen asked if anyone in the room had ever hired a lawyer for advice, kind of an important issue for the case at hand. Naturally, Adams' hand was among those raised.
"Mr. Mayor, I sort of assumed," Tollefsen said to laughs. "I'm not going to ask you about your issues."
During a break, I caught up with Adams, who said this was his third time slogging through jury duty since working at City Hall. I asked him if his comment in the courtroom was an indication his JTTF proposal—expected to be something like a memorandum of understanding with the FBI—was on track. If the proposal is late, his office said it would cancel Thursday's hearing.
He raised his eyes from his iPhone, offered a Cheshire grin, and said he couldn't discuss it. Fine. But I still wouldn't start making other plans. Oh, and no, the mayor was not picked.
In airing his claims, we haven't always treated him so kindly. But he's determined, and now he's turned to the Oregon Department of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS), based on the fact that municipal bonds are central to the upgrades. Apanel has filed a complaint that accuses the city council and Timbers of fraud: hiding "material facts" during the public process leading up to the bond sale—specifically that the renovations fall short of Major League Soccer's design guidelines for its stadiums.
Still, it's a long-shot complaint, even if people who don't want to wait in line for toilets at the stadium might be sympathetic.
The verdict is in on the long-awaited trial of an alleged gay bashing that occurred outside Blow Pony back in April 2009.
I detailed the whole story in court yesterday. Local DJ and queer activist Airick Heater pressed charges against alleged basher Blake McCune, who was on trial for two crimes: intimidating someone because of their sexual orientation and interfering with a police report, for slapping a cell phone out of Heater's hand as he tried to call 911
This morning the jury determined that McCune was guilty of interfering with a police report. But they determined he was not guilty of intimidation for calling Heater a "fag" and allegedly punching him in the face.
The not guilty is probably a result of the seriously conflicting stories witnesses told yesterday about the incident. Two witnesses (who are McCune's friends) told the jury that no one was shouting gay slurs during the incident, as Heater alleged, and that no one was punched in the face. A prosecution witness (who was friends with neither side) said he definitely saw McCune punch Heater in the face, but could not speak to hearing any of the gay slurs.
Update 2:21pm— For the crime of interfering with a police report, McCune received 18 months probation and 80 hours of community service. His lawyer, Troy Pickard, says McCune plans to do the community service with some type of GLBT advocacy group.
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