We are pleased to announce
the hire of Melanie Kebler as our new staff attorney. Melanie spent four years
as a prosecutor in both Lincoln and Yamhill Counties, focusing on crimes of
domestic violence and sexual assault. Throughout her career as a prosecutor,
Melanie worked closely with victims and victim advocates to ensure that crime
victims understood the criminal justice system and were treated fairly within
it. She also worked hard to achieve just results in each criminal case, to hold
offenders accountable, and to achieve protection and restitution for victims.
As a staff attorney for OCVLC, Melanie will be handling cases involving victims
of any crime around the state. We are confident she will continue to uphold the OCVLC’s standard of providing expert, no-cost legal representation that
clients of OCVLC have come to expect. Prior to attending law school at Lewis
and Clark Law School in Portland, Melanie graduated from the University of
Michigan in 2005. She joins legal director Rosemary Brewer and administrative
director and victim advocate Cristina Damiani.
The Board of Parole and Post-Prison
Supervision has deferred the release of inmate Sidney Dean Porter, convicted of
aggravated murder in the 1992 beating death of John Day police officer Frank
Ward. Porter's new projected release date is in June 2015. The
Oregon Crime Victims Law Center represented Ben Ward, the brother of Frank
Ward, at the Parole Board hearing held on September 30, 2013.
According to the Board of Parole, Porter "failed to
demonstrate a full understanding of his criminal offense." During
the hearing, Porter's version of the events of the evening of April 8, 1992
differed substantially from witness accounts and investigative reports.The Board found that Porter "minimized his actions" in describing the
murder of Officer Ward, and that he "understated his history of domestic
"I'm just glad the whole truth came out. The Board heard what really happened that night," said Ben Ward.
Rosemary Brewer, legal director of OCVLC, submitted a memo in opposition to
Porter's release on behalf of Ben Ward, who spoke at the hearing. Grant
County District Attorney Ryan Joslin also argued against Porter's
On October 9, 2013, the Oregon
Crime Victims Law Center helped to persuade the Oregon Board of Parole and
Post-Prison Supervision that an inmate who orchestrated the beating death of a
21-year-old Oregon City man that he should spend at least another 48 months
The Board had previously set a
release date for Tony Wik of January 24, 2014, but after deliberating
unanimously concluded that the inmate had a present severe emotional
disturbance that would make him a threat to the safety of the community.
At the hearing, Wik continued
to deny that he planned and carried out the murder of Rob Elledge, a man Wik
said he considered his "best friend." After questioning Wik for more
than two hours, board vice-chair Candace Wheeler told him, "Frankly.
you're not credible."
Wik was convicted of felony
murder, burglary and hindering prosecution, and given a sentence of life with a
minimum of 25 years with five years consecutive for hindering prosecution in
1987 by Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Bagley. An Oregon
Supreme Court holding in 2010 required the board to set a possible release date
for the inmate if it found that he was likely to be rehabilitated, even though
he has not yet completed his 30 year minimum sentence.
OCVLC represented Rob Elledge's
parents, Mary and Robert, in opposing Wik's release. Also appearing at
the hearing were the victim's sisters and brother-in-law. Clackamas
County Deputy District Attorney Al French also spoke in opposition to the
release. Rosemary Brewer, legal director of OCVLC, argued on behalf of
The Oregon Crime Victims Law
Center successfully represented the family of murder victim Eddie Gibbs at a
hearing before the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision on July 16,
2013. Gibbs was 20 years old at the time he was murdered in 1987 by Kevin
Roper and Scott Wickee. Wickee and Roper pleaded guilty to aggravated
murder and received sentences of life in prison.
After hearing from Roper, a
supporter of Roper, a Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney, OCVLC Legal
Director Rosemary Brewer, and family members of Eddie Gibbs, the Board decided
to defer Roper's release date for two years. He has a potential release
date of February 14, 2016. Two members of the Board found that Roper has
a present severe emotional disturbance that makes him a danger to the safety
of the community, while one Board member was in favor of Roper's release.
The family of Eddie Gibbs asked
the Board to defer Roper's release for as long as possible, arguing that he is
still a danger to the community and that they themselves feel they would not be
safe were he to be released. OCVLC's Legal Director, Ms. Brewer, spoke on behalf of Dennis Doern,
brother in law to Eddie Gibbs.
The hearing for Scott Wickee was a continuation of the
release hearing that was held in January of 2012. The Board has not
reached a decision in that matter.
On March 29, 2013, Multnomah County Judge Diana Stuart
rejected a request by double murderer Mark Beebout to change his name to Yunus
Mohammed -- questioning his stated intention that he wants to make the switch
for purely religious reasons. Beebout’s name change petition was opposed
by the family of Nikayla Powell, one of Beebout’s victims, who was represented
in the matter by OCVLC’s Legal Director, Rosemary Brewer, and Pro Bono Attorney
and OCVLC Board Member Erin K. Olson.
Beebout filed his name change petition shortly before being
sentenced to two consecutive life terms following his guilty pleas to two
counts of aggravated murder. OCVLC’s attorneys cited cases from other
states in which convicts’ efforts to change there name were rejected by courts as
being inconsistent with the public interest. Oregon law also contains a
public interest exception to the otherwise absolute right to change one’s name,
and Judge Stuart relied upon that exception in denying Beebout’s name change
petition. In addition to questioning his stated religious motivation,
Judge Stuart made reference to the fact that Beebout is a registered sex
offender whose registration and underlying sex offense conviction (for sexually
assaulting a 14 year-old girl) is in his “Beebout” name, he has been convicted
of failing to register as a sex offender in the past, and that the victims’
families and friends are members of the public who had made it clear in their
letters and e-mails to her that allowing Beebout to change his name was not in
Beebout can appeal the denial of his petition to the Oregon
Court of Appeals if he so chooses.Related news
In 2013, the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will be observed April 21-27 and the theme is “New Challenges, New Solutions.”
This year's US Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime Awards
Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Washington,
This annual event is held to recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate
outstanding service in supporting victims and victim services. The award
recipients are selected from public nominations in nine categories. The honorees are announced and
honored at the ceremony.
|Date:||April 24, 2013|
|Time:||2:00 – 3:30 pm (ET)|
|Location:||Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs|
810 7th Street, NW, Main Ballroom (3rd Floor)
The Oregon Crime
Victims Law Center (OCVLC) has successfully prevented the release of victims' private
records in several cases recently, helping victims protect their privacy and
assert their rights. First, in Klamath County, a defendant filed a
subpoena for a number of a juvenile victim's records, including school and
counseling records. The OCVLC challenged the subpoena on behalf of the
victim, arguing that the subpoena was overbroad, the records were privileged
and the defendant had no constitutional or statutory right to the
records. The judge, following a hearing on the matter, agreed to do an in
camera review of some of the counseling records and quashed the subpoena for
the majority of the records.
In a case in Columbia County, a defendant had filed subpoenas for a victim's
school, counseling and medical records. Again the OCVLC responded on
behalf of the victim, challenging the subpoenas on the grounds that they were
overbroad, immaterial, and nothing more than a "fishing expedition" on
the part of the defendant. The Court agreed, and quashed all of the
The OCVLC also stepped in on behalf of a victim in Jackson County. In
that case the defense was seeking the counseling records of a minor
victim. Again the OCVLC filed a motion to quash the subpoena, arguing
that the defendant had not made a sufficient showing that the records were
material and favorable to the defense, as required. The Court agreed with
the legal argument put forth by the Center and granted the Motion to Quash.
Protecting the right to privacy is critical to preventing re-traumatizing a
victim who has already suffered harm, and the OCVLC will continue to fight for
victims' protection from invasive discovery requests.
A Columbia County Circuit Court judge has
quashed most of a criminal defense attorney's trial subpoena of documents from
the mother of a child sex-abuse victim.
The judge ruled that the defense may subpoena only three of 27 categories of
documents from a list that ran three and one-half, single-spaced pages.
A pro bono attorney for the Center had challenged the subpoena on the grounds
that it was overbroad and that the defendant had no statutory or constitutional
authority to obtain all, or most, of the documents sought. The subpoena covered
everything from records relating to the mother's other five children, none of
whom are named in the indictment, to her family's correspondence with male
"The Court's first impression of that subpoena
duces tecum is
overbroad, a fact that counsel for the Defendant essentially admitted at
argument on the motion to quash," Judge Steven B. Reed said in a written
opinion dated Nov. 8.
Reed went on to address all 27 categories of documents individually, using such
phrases as "fishing expedition" and "hugely overbroad."
The defendant is charged with committing 47 felony sexual crimes against the
victim - his daughter - in 2010.
On October 17, 2012
the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center appeared before the Board of Parole and
Post-Prison Supervision on behalf of the families of four of the victims of
the "Oregon Five," inmates who were convicted of aggravated murder in
the years between 1989 and 1995. Legal Director Rosemary Brewer helped
persuade the Board that the inmates should serve the maximum term allowable,
228 months, for each count of aggravated murder.
Sterling Cunio was convicted in 1994 of the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of
18 year old Bridget Camber and her 21 year old fiance, Ian Dahl. Cunio
was 16 at the time of the crimes. Cunio was sentenced to life in prison,
and in 1999 the Board of Parole set his prison term. In 2011 the Oregon
Supreme Court ruled that the Board of Parole had exceeded its authority in
setting a term for a juvenile and ordered a new prison term hearing.
At the hearing the two-member Board unanimously decided that Cunio should serve
a term of 228 months for each of the two counts of aggravated murder, to run
consecutive, the maximum time allowable under the sentencing matrix that was
available at the time. When that sentence is complete, Cunio will serve
additional time for his convictions on the kidnapping and robbery
Arguing against Cunio's early release were Benton County Deputy District
Attorney David Amesbury, Ian Dahl's mother, aunt and stepfather, and Bridget
Camber's mother, father and sisters. Ms. Brewer argued on behalf of Ian
The final two members of the Oregon Five, Lydell and Laycelle White, also had
their prison term hearings on the 17th. The OCVLC represented the family
of Richard and Grace Remy, the victims of the Whites. In August of 1993,
the Whites broke into the Remys' Salem home, beat and stabbed the couple to
death, then stole their automobile. Richard Remy was 82 years old, while
Grace Remy was 80 years old. The evidence showed that the White brothers
planned their crime and actively sought out an elderly couple. The Whites
were sentenced to life terms with a minimum of 30 years for aggravated murder,
with an additional 800 months for murder to run consecutively. The 2011
Supreme Court decision regarding juveniles convicted of aggravated murder gave
the Whites another opportunity for a prison term hearing.
At the hearing the Board unanimously decided that the Whites should serve the
maximum allowable term of 288 months for aggravated murder, which will be
followed by the 800 month sentence for murder.
Arguing against the White
brothers' release was Marion County Deputy District Attorney Katie Suver.
Rosemary Brewer argued on behalf of the Remy family.