MEASURE 70


ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

    Measure 70 attacks your rights. Measure 70 would allow the prosecution to insist on a jury trial in a criminal case, even if the accused has requested a trial by the judge (called a "bench trial"). Measure 70 would turn the Oregon Constitution (Article I, Section 11) on its head, protecting the "rights" of the government at the expense of the defendant's rights.
The right to a jury trial belongs to the accused,
not to the government

    Under the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution and the Oregon Constitution Article I, section 11, the accused is the sole holder of the right to trial by jury. The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in 1930 that "the framers of the Constitution simply were intent upon preserving the right of trial by jury primarily for the protection of the accused." Because the right to a jury trial is intended to protect the accused, the government has no business invoking this right.

Prosecutors have no good reason to avoid a bench trial

    It is difficult to imagine a valid reason why a prosecutor would prefer to present his case to a jury rather than to a judge. One possible explanation is that the prosecutor might wish to exploit the inflammatory nature of the evidence before the jury, recognizing that in a bench trial, the judge would not be swayed by such evidence. Another possibility is that the prosecutor may wish to take advantage of jurors' lack of legal expertise and their natural prejudice about criminal defendants ­ considerations that are absent in a bench trial. Such gamesmanship should not be allowed by the Oregon Constitution.

    Anyone can be charged with a crime, even you. If a prosecutor's case cannot withstand scrutiny by the trial judge -- who is the most highly trained, experienced fact finder in the criminal justice system -- then perhaps the case shouldn't be filed in the first place.

Concerns of judicial bias should be addressed
through other means

    Prosecutors sometimes seek to sidestep bench trials on the ground that judges may be biased against the government. If such concerns exist, there are better means to address these concerns than Measure 70. For example, the judge's bias could be raised before the trial. The objections could be raised when the judges stand for reelection. The judges' rulings on certain issues could be challenged on appeal.

Bench trials save time and resources

    Bench trials save time and money. There is no need for jury selection, jury instructions, or jury deliberations. Evidentiary matters can be handled swiftly because it is unnecessary to remove the jury from the courtroom when evidentiary issues are argued. For these reasons, a bench trial is to be welcomed by the government, not shunned.

    Vote "NO" on Measure 70.

(This information furnished by Phil Barnhart, Democratic Party of Lane County.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

    Twenty-six years ago, my sister was murdered by a drug dealer. It's one of the defining moments in my life that led me to become a prosecutor and a state representative.

    As both a victim of crime and an officer of the court, I oppose Measures 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75.

    As a prosecutor, my conviction rate is over 90 percent. Most of the state's district attorneys and municipal prosecutors have similar conviction rates. Prosecutors don't need more power than judges in our courtrooms, yet that's exactly what some of these measures do.

    In fact, some of these measures will give government prosecutors the same kind of power as Kenneth Starr. That's not the Oregon way.

    As a prosecutor, I am sworn to uphold Oregon's Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights protects Oregon citizens from overzealous government prosecutors, ensuring that our trials are fair and that both victims and defendants receive justice.

    Gutting Oregon's Bill of Rights will not help reduce crime.

    While these measures are billed as helping victims of crime, voters must remember they take rights away from every Oregon citizen... rights granted to us under our Oregon Bill of Rights. These measures won't do anything to reduce crime, but they will place innocent Oregonians at greater risk.

    These Measures Could Cost Taxpayers Millions of Dollars.

    The money we spend on these measures could be used to put more police on our streets or spend more money on educating our children. Education reduces crime and victimization. We should reduce crime, not eliminate protections guaranteed all citizens under the Oregon Bill of Rights.

    As a crime victim and a prosecutor, I urge you to vote no on Measures 70-75.

    Thank you.

    Floyd Prozanski

    Municipal Prosecutor and State Representative

(This information furnished by State Representative Floyd Prozanski.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

I am a rape survivor who knows firsthand about the danger
of giving too much power to government prosecutors.

    Following my assault, I reported my attacker within 24 hours, but the police and prosecutor sat on this information. For a year, they failed to follow through on my charges. In that time, he raped three other women. Even after all of that, the prosecutor ignored my pleas and agreed to a bargain that netted my attacker a lousy 60 days in jail. After release, he assaulted yet another woman!

    Now prosecutors are asking us to give them even more powers in the name of protecting crime victims. Measure 70 gives prosecutors complete control over whether a trial will be held or a plea bargain entertained, because under Measure 70, the right to demand a jury trial can be granted or waived only by the prosecutor, not the real crime victim.

    If you couple that power with Measure 69, which gives prosecutors the scary power to decide who is a victim and who isn't, crime victims will be in trouble, not criminals. Even if the government decides you are a victim of crime, Measure 69 doesn't provide any recourse if the government prosecutor violates the rights this measure supposedly provides to crime victims.

    It makes me angry that all of these measures, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75, are being advertised as protections for people like me. It wasn't the system that failed me. It was the police and prosecutors. I am totally opposed to giving them even more power to walk all over crime victims.

    Please vote No on Measures 69-75.

    Jessie Willis

(This information furnished by Jessie Willis.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

PLEASE VOTE NO ON MEASURES 69-75

    Ballot Measures 69-75 are being advertised as the re-making of Ballot Measure 40, which was passed in 1996 and subsequently thrown out by the Oregon Supreme Court. This is what Oregon's largest newspapers had to say about Measure 40:

The Register-Guard:
(October 8, 1996)

"MEASURE LIMITS RIGHTS"

    "The measure goes several steps too far in the name of victims' rights and should be rejected."

    "Oregonians should not adopt...measures that unduly restrict their own rights as citizens."

    "Most of the best ideas contained in the measure...were adopted by Oregonians 10 years ago. There's no need to lock these existing provisions into the Constitution."

    "While the good that Measure 40 would do is unnecessary, the bad would be disastrous. Too many of the measure's new provisions go too far beyond protecting victims' rights...Weakening Oregon's Bill of Rights is a poor way to serve the interests of crime victims. Measure 40 should be soundly rejected."

The Bend Bulletin:
(October 16, 1996)

"VICTIMS' RIGHTS' INITIATIVE GOES TOO FAR"

    "Measure 40 tries to do too much...Some of these are...serious intrusions on the constitutional rights of Oregonians."

    "Measure 40 has drawn the opposition of many Oregon leaders, including state attorney general candidates Hardy Myers and Victor Hofer, former AG Dave Frohnmayer and Gov. John Kitzhaber."

The Oregonian:
((Oct. 14, 1996)

"NO ON MEASURE 40"

"Measure 40 comes to the general election ballot in the guise of a crime victims' rights provision, but its truly important parts are about something else. They're about such things as reducing Oregon's constitutional protection..."

"The measure threatens to add constitutional confusion to the way convicted offenders are sentenced. It may even require far more arrested persons to be kept in already overcrowded jails before their trials."

"We recommend that voters turn down the measure."

(This information furnished by Geoff Sugerman, Crime Victims for Justice.)

(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.
 


Arguments In Favor

Measure 70 Text

November 2, 1999 Special Election Voters' Pamphlet Table of Contents