PORTLAND, OR – Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown (D) of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 prisoners by granting clemency.
Lawsuit: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown unlawfully commuting prison sentences https://t.co/MzLpWlGkB8
— KGW News (@KGWNews) January 21, 2022
Gov. Brown stands accused of ignoring victim rights while granting clemency to inmates, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow and others argued in a legal petition filed Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit primarily seeks to stop the early release of more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles, including murder, and are now eligible for parole under an executive order, and to force the Governor to follow clemency rules.
The lawsuit argues:
“Convicted criminals must initiate the process to seek forgiveness and state their case by demonstrating remorse, rehabilitation, and a desire and capability to reasonably re-enter society.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Corrections provided Brown with lists of inmates who had less than six months on their sentence and met other conditions for early release.
The lists, according to the governor’s office, were designed to identify medically vulnerable inmates and move them out of congregate facilities where COVID-19 has frequently spread.
Perlow, along with Linn County DA Douglas Marteeny and four surviving victims, are asking the court to compel Brown, the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the state’s parole board to “comply with the law.”
JUST IN: Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 incarcerated people. https://t.co/aWxmzxwk1o
— KAPP-KVEW (@KAPPKVEW) January 21, 2022
The suit claims that the Democratic Governor failed to provide victim notification of the prisoner releases as required by clemency procedures. Monique DeSpain, a lawyer for the Kevin L. Mannix Salem-based law firm, which filed the case with Common Sense for Oregon on behalf of the plaintiffs, said:
“We are asking that the court compel the governor to follow the laws that are already in place.”
He argued that the pace of the clemencies demonstrated a disregard for sentencing laws in place:
“When they’re granted to the rate of nearly 1,000 commutations, then really it becomes a rewriting of sentencing laws.
“That is a lot of commutations that have been handed down.”
Kevin Mannix, a former chair of the Oregon Republican Party, leads both the law firm and Common Sense.
The lawsuit accuses the Governor of breaking rules requiring individual commutation applications and unlawfully delegated her responsibilities to state agencies. DA Martenny said the legal action was not personal:
“This lawsuit is not personal on my . I believe our laws put limits on (Brown’s) actions. I am working to enforce those limits.”
State prison officials told Oregon Gov. Kate Brown would need to release around 5,800 inmates to create enough social distancing inside their facilities to significantly reduce COVID-19 risk. She's commuting the sentences of 57.https://t.co/Df5a8GMTKS pic.twitter.com/cN0LikyvUJ
— JPR News (@JPRnews) June 26, 2020
Gov. Brown commuted the sentences of 912 people in custody who were deemed at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a June 2021 letter she sent to state lawmakers.
Those freed were medically vulnerable, had completed at least half their sentences, and were not serving time for crimes against people.
Brown also commuted the sentences of 41 people who fought the Labor Day 2020 wildfires that scorched the state in 2020., according to the June letter, which is cited in the lawsuit.
Those released did not “present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community,” the letter claimed.
Aliza Kaplan, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor involved in clemency applications, said the Governor’s actions were proper:
“The law is very clear on the governor’s power to grant clemency. She’s using it in the exact way it was intended by our founders,” Kaplan said. “There’s precedent for granting group clemency. It’s unfortunate that we have to all waste our time talking about this lawsuit.
“She’s using it in the exact way it should be used. These people have been punished significantly, and even in a place like prison, they have managed to rehabilitate themselves, and the governor is offering them mercy.”
Gov. Kate Brown announced a second round of early releases for individuals incarcerated in Oregon prisons who are medically vulnerable to COVID-19 or within two months of release, this time commuting the sentences of 66 people https://t.co/Y7rHeLjoCI
— Prison_Health (@Prison_Health) October 1, 2020
The lawsuit also addresses concerns over offenders now made eligible for commutation for violent crimes they committed as juveniles.
In 2019, Oregon passed a law eliminating life sentences without parole for youth offenders. It also allowed them another hearing to review their case after serving half their sentences.
Following the law’s passage, the Governor signed an executive order allowing it to apply retroactively to juveniles convicted between 1988 and 2019.
The move has been criticized by multiple Oregon district attorneys, who called the move dangerous and traumatizing to the victims of their crimes.
The Governor’s Office declined to comment on the pending legislation.
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Documents reveal Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has long-standing ties to Chinese Communist groups
August 27, 2021
SALEM, OR- Among governors in the United States, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is among the most inept.
This was proven this past week when in spite of all medical evidence to the contrary, Brown mandated masks be worn inside and outside in Oregon. Now we’re finding out that Brown has direct and longstanding ties to the Chinese Communist Party, according to National Pulse.
The outlet reports that Brown “has participated in events sponsored by Chinese Communist Party propaganda groups flagged by the U.S. State Department for ‘directly and malignly influenc[ing]’ American officials.”
Brown has deep ties to the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), which has been dubbed the “public face” of the United Front, as well as “avowedly an arm of the party-state.”
Recently uncovered documents show that Oregon Democrats have called for the cancellation of an upcoming event which features two of The National Pulse’s writers, Raheem Kassam and Natalie Winters because the outlet allegedly promotes “China-centric conspiracy theories” and “toxic beliefs.”
— Oregon Democrats (@ORDems) August 23, 2021
The Pulse reports that while the Oregon Democratic party attempts to silence reportage which focuses on the CCP, its most prominent member in the state—Brown—“recently established links with one of the regime’s chief influence groups abroad.”
This is, the outlet reports not really a new development. Brown has, it reports, “a long history of collaboration with groups tied to Beijing’s United Front Work Department.
What exactly is that?
The billion dollar group aims “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party,” as well as to “influence foreign governments to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies,” the federal U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission writes.
Not only that but also United Front groups such as the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) have also utilized tactics such as free trips to China in order to gain “favorable coverage” from mainstream media outlets, according to filings made under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
Despite Oregon Democrats claims of a “China-centric conspiracy theory” by The National Pulse, that hardly seems to be the case.
“CPAFFC’s actions have undermined the Governors Forums’ original well-intentioned purpose.”
At the time, the CPAFFC was told by Brown that “Oregon hopes to enhance cooperation with China” at the event, where Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping was the featured speaker.
After the forum, Brown, along with five other governors, agreed to a deal with China to collaborate on “clean technology and economic development.”
During a private meeting with CPAFFC Vice President Lin Yi in the months after the forum, Brown called Xi’s remarks “encouraging,” and pushed to “strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in education, science, and technology, health tourism and sports.”
Governor Brown said it was her great honor to attend the Governor’s Forum held in Seattle last month. President Xi’s remarks were encouraging, and the Forum helped provide great opportunities for U.S.-China cooperation.
The State of Oregon regards China as the most important international partner and has willingness to strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in education, science and technology, health, tourism and sports, etc.”
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