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.
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.
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.