The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center continues
to work with victims in the post-conviction process of the criminal justice
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.
Parole Board has continued the hearing until August to seek further information
concerning the inmate.
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.
The Oregon Crime Victims Law
Center continues to assist victims in asserting their rights in criminal
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
has once again prevented the pretrial release of a victim’s private records,
challenging invasive defense subpoenas in a child sex abuse case.
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.
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.