Hundreds of suspected wife-beaters, burglars, drunk drivers, and berserkers of various intensity will not face justice in Oregon’s most populous county, according to leftist Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. For lack of public defenders, dangerous personalities are being set free under the justified impression that Portland, the slogan of which is “the City that Works,” is a legally dysfunctional city in a legally dysfunctional county.
What are the details?
Schmidt announced on Monday that in “February of this year, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge dismissed the first of what is now nearing 300 cases due to a lack of defense counsel over my objection on the basis of victims’ rights.”
The ardent BLM supporter indicated that every week since, judges have dismissed case hearings, meaning accused criminals are being cut loose.
Citing “a lack of public defenders to provide counsel to defendants,” Schmidt indicated that the “courts are put in the position of releasing defendants without prosecutors having so much as an opportunity to request bail or release conditions. And it’s not getting any better.”
According to Schmidt, last week, “a suspect that allegedly ran a car into a school bus of children, which subsequently had to be evacuated due to a leak caused by the incident, was released within 24 hours of his arrest due to lack of a defense counsel.”
It’s not just potential maniacs driving into school buses who are going free under the leftist D.A.’s watch.
Between Feb. 24 and Oct. 31, 285 felony and misdemeanor cases were dismissed, including:
139 cases prosecuted by the A/B Unit, which deals with felonies, including property crimes and human trafficking offenses; 43 cases prosecuted by Unit C, which deals with major felonies, including vehicular assaults and gang-related offenses;11 cases prosecuted by Unit D, which tackles felony assault cases;Five cases (two assaults, one strangulation, one criminal mischief, and one coercion) prosecuted by the DV Unit, which deals with domestic violence cases;One Multi-Disciplinary Team unit child abuse case; andSix District Court Trial cases, dealing with misdemeanors that accompanied felonies as lesser charges.
80 of the property crime charges dismissed due to a lack of counsel were car thefts.
Nine assaults, six robberies, three hit-and-run felonies, and other personal crimes will go unpunished.
Two individuals who failed to register as sex offenders were also let off.
Stressing the system
11 days after being elected district attorney with the help of the scandal-plagued radical Shaun King, Schmidt made a name for himself by refusing to prosecute BLM rioters.
Courthouse News reported that the leftist D.A. refrained from “pursuing charges of disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer, criminal trespass and most charges of rioting.”
Schmidt had claimed that holding rioters to account would “undermine public safety, not promote it.”
By Oct. 5, 2020, Schmidt’s office had dropped charges in nearly 90% of the riot-related cases, reported KOIN.
Fox News reported in September that the Portland Police Bureau, financially gutted by the city council and suffering staff shortages since the BLM riots, has struggled to keep up with the rising crime under Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s watch.
Last year, there were 90 homicides in Portland, 24 more than the previous record set in 1987.
Portland scores a three on Neighborhood Scout’s crime index, where 100 is safest. The chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime are one in 187. In the Democrat-controlled state of Oregon, the odds are one in 342.
Things fall apart
Whereas in past years Schmidt elected not to prosecute various crimes, he now suggests the decision is out of his hands, with the “complex chain” strained by rising crime, understaffed police, and an insufficient number of public defenders.
In a March 27 opinion piece in the Oregonian, Schmidt wrote, “Defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers are all links in the complex chain that is the criminal justice system. At every link in that chain, there are obvious signs of extreme stress, rapidly nearing the point of breakage.”
Schmidt suggested that attorneys were bailing out of his office as a result of “the weight of crushing workloads driven by the pandemic, where case counts have increased by as much as 300%.”
The district attorney also claimed that case counts were up despite police — whose confidence in Schmidt has been low — allegedly only referring a small percent of crimes to his office.
The inability to try and convict criminals “sends a message to crime victims in our community that justice is unavailable and their harm will go unaddressed,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt added, “It also sends a message to individuals who have committed a crime that there is no accountability while burning through scarce police and prosecutor resources. Every day that this crisis persists presents an urgent and continuing threat to public safety.”
Instead of a solution, Schmidt offered transparency, saying his “office will publish every case dismissed or set over as a result of this crisis weekly until it is resolved.”
Accordingly, the public will know the nature of the alleged crimes that will go unpunished in their county.