House Joint Resolution 90--Referred to the Electorate of Oregon by the 1999 Legislature to be voted on at the Special Election, November 2, 1999.



RESULT OF "YES" VOTE: "Yes" vote limits pretrial release of persons accused of violent felonies to protect victims, public.

RESULT OF "NO" VOTE: "No" vote leaves current Oregon statutory pretrial release and constitutional bail provisions unchanged.

SUMMARY: Amends Constitution. Grants victims right to reasonable protection from accused person or convicted criminal throughout criminal justice process, and from alleged youth offender or youth offender throughout juvenile delinquency process. Prosecuting attorney is the person authorized to assert rights of victims and public. Pretrial release in criminal cases must be based on reasonable protection of victims and public as well as likelihood accused person will appear for trial. Makes violent felonies not bailable when court finds probable cause to believe accused person committed crime, and danger exists of physical injury or sexual victimization to victims or public if accused person released before trial.

ESTIMATE OF FINANCIAL IMPACT: No financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues.


Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:

    PARAGRAPH 1. The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by creating a new section to be added to and made a part of Article I, such section to read:
    (1) To ensure that a fair balance is struck between the rights of crime victims and the rights of criminal defendants in the course and conduct of criminal proceedings, the following rights are hereby granted to victims in all prosecutions for crimes:
    (a) The right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant or the convicted criminal throughout the criminal justice process and from the alleged youth offender or youth offender throughout the juvenile delinquency proceedings.
    (b) The right to have decisions by the court regarding the pretrial release of a criminal defendant based upon the principle of reasonable protection of the victim and the public, as well as the likelihood that the criminal defendant will appear for trial. Murder, aggravated murder and treason shall not be bailable when the proof is evident or the presumption strong that the person is guilty. Other violent felonies shall not be bailable when a court has determined there is probable cause to believe the criminal defendant committed the crime, and the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that there is danger of physical injury or sexual victimization to the victim or members of the public by the criminal defendant while on release.
    (2) This section applies to proceedings pending or commenced on or after the effective date of this section. Nothing in this section abridges any right of the criminal defendant guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, including the rights to be represented by counsel, have counsel appointed if indigent, testify, present witnesses, cross-examine witnesses or present information at the release hearing. Nothing in this section creates any cause of action for compensation or damages nor may this section be used to invalidate an accusatory instrument, ruling of a court, conviction or adjudication or otherwise suspend or terminate any criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding at any point after the case is commenced or on appeal. Except as otherwise specifically provided, this section supersedes any conflicting section of this Constitution.
    (3) As used in this section:
    (a) "Victim" means any person determined by the prosecuting attorney to have suffered direct financial, psychological or physical harm as a result of a crime and, in the case of a victim who is a minor, the legal guardian of the minor. In the event no person has been determined to be a victim of the crime, the people of Oregon, represented by the prosecuting attorney, are considered to be the victims. In no event is it intended that the criminal defendant be considered the victim.
    (b) "Violent felony" means a felony in which there was actual or threatened serious physical injury to a victim or a felony sexual offense.
    (4) The prosecuting attorney is the party authorized to assert the rights of the victim and the public established by this section.

    PARAGRAPH 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at a special election held throughout this state on the date specified in section 2, chapter _____, Oregon Laws 1999 (Enrolled House Bill 2354).

NOTE: Boldfaced type indicates new language; [brackets and italic] type indicates deletions or comments.


    This measure amends the Bill of Rights in the Oregon Constitution by granting victims of crimes or acts of juvenile delinquency additional constitutional rights to be reasonably protected from the accused person. The prosecuting attorney is the person who can assert the rights granted by this measure.

    This measure requires that a court consider the reasonable protection of the victim and public when deciding whether to release the accused person prior to trial. This measure would prohibit the pretrial release of persons accused of violent felonies if the court determines that:

    1. It is more likely than not that the person committed the act the person is accused of committing; and

    2. There is clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger of physical injury or sexual victimization to others if the person is released.

    Under current constitutional provisions, other than for charges of aggravated murder, murder or treason, the primary consideration in pretrial release decisions is the risk of the accused person not appearing rather than the safety of the victim or the public.

    Except as otherwise specifically provided, this measure supersedes any conflicting section of the Oregon Constitution.
Committee Members:
Senator Neil Bryant 
Representative Kevin Mannix 
Senator Kate Brown 
Representative Floyd Prozanski 
Representative Lane Shetterly 
Appointed By:
President of the Senate
Speaker of the House
Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Members of the Committee

(This committee was appointed to provide an impartial explanation of the ballot measure pursuant to
ORS 251.215.)

Arguments In Favor

Arguments In Opposition

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