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What's New at OCVLC

OCVLC represents family of murder victim Erin Reynolds at Conrad Engweiler's parole hearing

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:46 PM by Cristina Damiani   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 12:47 PM ]

The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center continues to work with victims in the post-conviction process of the criminal justice system.  

In May 2014, Legal Director Rosemary Brewer represented the family of murder victim Erin Reynolds at the parole hearing of convicted murdered Conrad Engweiler.  Ms. Brewer argued against Engweiler's release on behalf of Ms. Reynolds' brother.  Also speaking at the hearing were Ms. Reynolds' parents, her sister, and brother.  Deputy District Attorney Russ Ratto spoke on behalf of the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.  

The Parole Board has continued the hearing until August to seek further information concerning the inmate.

OCVLC helps domestic violence victim assert her right to terminate lease without penalty

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:40 PM by Cristina Damiani

A victim of domestic violence recently sought assistance from the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center to terminate her apartment lease early.  Because she lived with her abuser, the victim needed to leave the apartment for her safety. The victim's landlord told her she would be required to pay a termination fee as well as several months rent before the lease would be terminated. 

Under Oregon law, a domestic violence victim has the ability to terminate a lease without a termination fee if certain conditions are met.  Legal Director Rosemary Brewer assisted the victim in getting her lease terminated with no penalty.

Minor victim of sexual assault asserts right to be consulted regarding plea and the right to be heard at sentencing

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:34 PM by Cristina Damiani   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 12:36 PM ]

The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center continues to assist victims in asserting their rights in criminal cases.  

Recently Legal Director Rosemary Brewer represented the family of a minor victim of sexual assault in asserting the right to consultation with the prosecutor regarding plea negotiations.  Ms. Brewer was able to work with the victims and the prosecutor to craft sentencing recommendations that the family felt were necessary for the minor victim's safety.  After a plea agreement was reached Ms. Brewer assisted the family in preparing their victim impact statements for the sentencing hearing.  

Motion to subpoena child victim's medical records denied in Polk County

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:26 PM by Cristina Damiani

A judge in Polk County denied a defense motion to subpoena a child victim's prior medical records after OCVLC Staff Attorney Melanie Kebler objected on behalf of the child victim and her mother. Ms. Kebler worked with the Deputy District Attorney handling the case, and both attorneys argued against the defense's request to reveal personal medical information in records unrelated to the charged crime. The judge agreed and the records were not released to either party.

Our new legal assistance project helps Multnomah Co. victims obtain protective orders

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:21 PM by Cristina Damiani

OCVLC has represented victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in protective order proceedings in Multnomah County. Staff Attorney Melanie Kebler has helped victims through contested restraining order hearings, modification hearings, and renewal hearings. OCVLC has also assisted with one Sexual Abuse Protection Order, under the new Oregon law which took effect January 1, 2014. Many of these victims also require counsel and advice regarding a parallel criminal case, which OCVLC has been able to provide. 

OCVLC helps sexual assault victim in both civil and criminal cases

posted Jul 2, 2014, 12:08 PM by Cristina Damiani

OCVLC represented a victim of sexual assault in both her civil restraining order case and the criminal case against her abuser. OCVLC Staff Attorney Melanie Kebler was able to successfully argue to the court that the restraining order deposition should be stayed while the criminal case was pending, which prevented the victim from going through the trauma of being interviewed by the defendant's attorney. In the criminal case, Ms. Kebler also argued against invasive subpoenas from the defense that requested the victim's counseling records, emails, and even information from OCVLC's own file. The case was ultimately resolved by a plea, and Ms. Kebler assisted the victim in asserting her right to be consulted, so that her input on the plea deal was considered by the District Attorney. The victim was able to give a statement to the judge at sentencing, with the support of OCVLC and advocates from Portland Police, the DA's Office, and Parole and Probation. OCVLC will continue to help this victim through the process of asking the sentencing judge to order the defendant to pay full restitution for the victim's past and future medical and counseling costs.

Board of Parole Defers Release of Dail Yates for 4 Years

posted Feb 24, 2014, 5:45 PM by Cristina Damiani

On February 18, 2014, the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision deferred the release date of inmate Dail Yates for a period of four years. In a unanimous decision, the Board found that Yates has a present severe emotional disturbance that cannot be sufficiently controlled to protect the health and safety of the community. 

Yates pleaded guilty in 1990 for the murder of Shelley Elkins, 20, in Clackamas County.  Ms. Elkins was the fiance of Yates' cousin, and was attacked by Yates in her home.  After strangling Ms. Elkins to death, Yates called his mother, then held a gun and refused to allow police or medical personnel into the home for hours.  

During lengthy questioning by the Board, Yates called the murder of Ms. Elkins "a bad choice" that he made.  The Board found that Yates displayed a total lack of understanding why he committed the murder, and that he showed "no remorse or empathy" for the death of Ms. Elkins.  Board member Sid Thompson said he was struck by how "cold and emotionless" Yates was as he described killing Ms. Elkins.

Yates' release was opposed by the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office, represented by Bill Stewart, as well as by Ms. Elkins' sister, mother, father, other family members, and friends of the family. Rosemary Brewer, Legal Director of the OCVLC, argued against Yates' release on behalf of Ms. Elkins' father.

OCVLC Continues to Provide Services to Victims Around Oregon

posted Jan 23, 2014, 11:40 AM by Cristina Damiani

As a nonprofit focused on providing no cost legal services to crime victims, the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center (OCVLC) has been busy the past few months providing a variety of services to crime victims of all types and from areas around the state.

In Columbia County, OCVLC successfully helped a child sex abuse victim and her family assert their right to a speedy trial in a case that had been pending since 2012. After OCVLC got involved, no further continuances were requested and the defendant ultimately settled the case through a plea deal.

In Clackamas County, OCVLC agreed to help a stalking victim with the legal issue of clarifying her Stalking Protective Order, originally granted in 2001. Since that time, due to court error on the original judgment, it had become unclear whether the order was permanent and should be entered into law enforcement databases. OCVLC filed a motion to correct the judgment on the victim’s behalf, and the Court granted the motion and signed a new, corrected, permanent Stalking Protective Order.

In Clatsop County, OCVLC attorneys were able to persuade the court to seal the testimony of the victim in a rape case after the victim discovered that a person not associated with the case was attempting to get a copy of it.  Upon a showing of good cause to seal the records, the court agreed that the victim would only be "re-victimized" were the testimony to be released. 

Finally in Multnomah County, a crime victim who had also obtained a restraining order requested help with an upcoming contested restraining order. OCVLC represented the victim in the restraining order case and also helped the victim through the process of the defendant pleading guilty in the criminal case, by helping her assert her right to speak at that critical stage hearing. After pleading guilty, the defendant withdrew his request for a contested restraining order hearing.

Judge Grants Request to Deny Pretrial Release of Victim’s Private Records

posted Jan 23, 2014, 11:34 AM by Cristina Damiani

OCVLC has once again prevented the pretrial release of a victim’s private records, challenging invasive defense subpoenas in a child sex abuse case.

In December 2013 and January 2014, a Klamath County Circuit Court judge quashed two rounds of defense subpoenas seeking personal medical and counseling records of a minor sex abuse victim. OCVLC stepped in on behalf of the victim and asked the court not to allow the defendant to abuse the subpoena process to go on a “fishing expedition” for information about the victim’s past. OCVLC argued that the defendant had not made a sufficient showing that the records were material and favorable to the defense, and therefore those records had been inappropriately subpoenaed prior to trial. The Court agreed with OCVLC’s arguments and quashed the subpoenas, allowing the defendant only the ability to subpoena the records directly to trial, where the Court would then require a threshold showing by the defense before reviewing any of the records.

Board of Parole Defers Release of Scott Wickee for 2 Years

posted Jan 23, 2014, 11:01 AM by Cristina Damiani

On January 22, 2014 the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center (OCVLC) helped to persuade the Oregon Board of Parole and Post Prison Supervision that an inmate who bludgeoned and strangled a Portland man to death in 1987 should serve at least another two years in prison.  Scott Wickee, along with co-defendant Kevin Roper, were found guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison. 

Board member Candace Wheeler told Wickee that he "continues to minimize" his role in the murder of Eddie Lee "Bobby" Gibbs.  "You seem to just feel sorry for yourself," Wheeler noted.  The Board set a new potential release date of April 2016. 

The Board unanimously found that Wickee has a "present severe emotional disturbance that would make (him) a danger to the community if released."  In his description of the murder of Mr. Gibbs, Wickee downplayed his role, and claimed that he never expected the murder to happen, despite evidence of significant planning in advance by Wickee and Roper. 

Wickee's release was opposed by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Amity Girt, as well as Mr. Gibbs' mother, sister, and brother.  Rosemary Brewer, Legal Director of the OCVLC, argued on behalf of Mr. Gibbs' brother-in-law, Dennis Doern. 

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