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Thu May 21, 2020, 02:04 PM

Progressive Wins DA Race in Portland, Sending "Shockwaves" Through Oregon's Punitive System

“Multnomah County has just embraced the most progressive DA platform that this state has ever seen,” said Mike Schmidt, crediting grassroots efforts.

https://theappeal.org/politicalreport/portland-district-attorney-election/

It may be the widest election win yet for progressives in a contested prosecutor’s race. Mike Schmidt, who ran on a criminal justice reform platform, was elected district attorney on Tuesday in Multnomah County, which is home to Portland, some of its suburbs, and more than 800,000 residents. He had more than 75 percent of the vote in results available on Wednesday. “His election is evidence of the grassroots efforts that educated the community about the powers of the DA and the harms inflicted by the criminal legal system,” Madeline Carroll, an organizer with Oregon DA for the People, a local advocacy group, told me in an email. “Hundreds of community members contributed to this milestone.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Schmidt too credited grassroots organizers. “Multnomah County has just embraced the most progressive DA platform that this state has ever seen,” he said. “It’s an incredible feeling of validation for the things I’ve been working on, and I think of validation for so many people in the community who’ve worked on these issues and said those things for longer than I have.” He pointed to his 50 percentage point margin as evidence of the “breadth” of the coalition around reform. When he talked to labor groups during the campaign, he recounted, they pressed him to talk about “the systems, and how race has played into the criminal justice system, the school to prison pipeline. You merge that with the activist groups that have been working on these issues, with groups that have been standing with immigrants in our communities, everybody brought similar goals but different takes on it.”

This margin is all the more remarkable in the context of Oregon’s punitive prosecutorial culture, of a DA association that has fought recent reforms, and of a prison population that has kept rising, bucking national trends. Oregon is one of only six states where incarceration reached a new peak in 2018, according to a new analysis by the Sentencing Project. Schmidt has blamed Oregon’s harsh mandatory minimum schemes, which were codified by a 1994 ballot initiative, for stalling decarceral efforts. “You literally cannot get Oregon’s prison population reduced by 50 percent without getting rid of mandatory sentencing,” he said in April in a Q&A with the Political Report, referring to a goal some decarceration advocates have set.

And in arguing that the legislature should repeal mandatory minimums, he presented the change as a way to chip away at DAs’ tremendous power. “When sentences become mandatory,” he said, “whoever makes the charging decision essentially makes the sentencing decision.” He also expressed support for other statewide reforms, including an end to cash bail, a ballot initiative that would decriminalize the personal possession of most drugs, and voting rights for all. He is among a growing list of candidates who are winning DA races after stating their view that incarcerated people should retain the right to vote, a significant turnaround in the issue’s national politics that matches what law enforcement officials say in Maine and Vermont.

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Reply Progressive Wins DA Race in Portland, Sending "Shockwaves" Through Oregon's Punitive System (Original post)
Celerity May 21 OP
The Magistrate May 21 #1
Indykatie May 21 #2
MyOwnPeace May 21 #3
BComplex May 21 #4

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 02:06 PM

1. Excellent, Ma'am

This is one project of our leftmost fellows I am unreservedly for. I would like to see this repeated all across the land.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 02:17 PM

2. Cash Bail, Mandatory Sentencing and For Profit Prisons Drives Big % of Penal System Abuses

It's so nice to see us moving toward a more progressive approach around the country by electing Dems with progressive criminal justice platforms.

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Response to Indykatie (Reply #2)

Thu May 21, 2020, 02:47 PM

3. But, but..............

why should we change - the "old way" has been working SO well..............

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Response to Indykatie (Reply #2)

Thu May 21, 2020, 03:05 PM

4. This country REALLY needs to get rid of "for profit" prisons. They have NO reason to help people get

discharged when they've been behaving themselves. I have a close friend who is in a for-profit prison for his narcotic entrepreneurial efforts. They hardly give them anything to eat, in order to cut costs. Prisoners have to get money and buy stuff from the "commissary" (mostly vending machines type stuff) just to have the energy to go work out or lift weights.

"For profit" means they take their profits from our tax dollars to pay their CEO's, instead of working through the State / Federal government and working with career government professional employees.

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