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.
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 asserts right to be consulted regarding plea and the right to be heard at sentencing
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.
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 costs.