Oregon Limited Immunity for Person Ordered to Testify About Their Conduct, Measure 73 (1999)

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The Oregon Limited Immunity for Person Ordered to Testify About Their Conduct Amendment, also known as Measure 73, was on the November 2, 1999 ballot in Oregon as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. The measure would have limited immunity from criminal prosecution of a person ordered to testify about his or her conduct.[1]

In 1999, a person could be ordered to give testimony about a crime the person is suspected of committing only if the person is given complete immunity from prosecution for that crime. Under the grant of complete immunity, the person cannot be prosecuted for the crime even if the state obtains evidence from a source independent of the person's testimony. Unless the state grants the person complete immunity, the person can refuse to testify.

Election results

Oregon Measure 73 (1999)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No369,84353.6%
Yes 320,160 46.4%

Election results via: Oregon Blue Book

Ballot title

HJR 93 - Amends Constitution: Limits Immunity From Criminal Prosecution Of Person Ordered To Testify About His or Her Conduct[2]

Support

[3] State representative Kevin Mannix sponsored the measure, having been chief petitioner on a similar measure in 1996 (Measure 40), which was thrown out for violating the single-subject rule. The original measure was split up into measures 69-75 for the 1999 special election. Mannix reminded voters that the original measure had been passed in 1996 regarding this issue and encouraged them to vote "yes" again.

Many supporters argued that the measure ensures that criminals would be accountable for their actions no matter what. Some said the measure would protect Fifth Amendment rights but prevent criminals from using immunity as a shield from rightful prosecution.

Crime Victims United told the story of a case that could have been prevented with Measure 73.

"Take the case of the person who was the so-called "murder witness," who said he would only testify if he was given "absolute immunity." His attorney only wanted to protect his client's rights. The "witness" was given immunity. Unfortunately, he was the murderer and as a result of the Oregon law, he could never be prosecuted."

Opposition

[4] The Democratic Party of Lane County in Oregon said the measure attacks constitutional rights and could force people to testify against themselves.

Geoff Sugerman of Crime Victims for Justice feared the measure was just another step towards turning Oregon into a "police state."

Many saw this measure, and the similar ones proposed in 1999, as a way of granting government and prosecutors more power, not about protecting the innocent.

See also

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