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Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, Measure 73 (2010)

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Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, Measure 73, appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute where it was approved.[1]

The initiative proposed requiring an increased minimum sentence for some sex crimes and repeat DUIs. More specifically, the initiative set a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for repeat offenders of any four felony sex crimes. Additionally, it required a 90-day jail term for a third drunk-driving conviction. The conviction would also be considered a Class C felony if the previous convictions were within the past 10 years.[2]

The measure was certified for the ballot on July 16 by the Oregon Secretary of State. According to reports, of the 136,674 signatures filed for verification, 93,223 or 68.2% were validated. A minimum of 82,769 were required to qualify for the statewide ballot.[3]

Aftermath

See also: Oregon Criminal Sentence, Measure 57 (2008)

During the 2011 legislative session Measure 57, approved in 2008, and Measure 73, approved in 2010, became one of the focal points during the budget discussion. According to Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed budget, Measure 57 would continue to be suspended and Measure 73 would be implemented. The 2010 measure would require 25-year prison terms for repeat felony sex offenders and jail time for repeat drunk drivers. The proposed budget assumed that the current prisons could handle the impact of Measure 73. The measure, however, also requires the state to compensate counties for jailing repeat drunk drivers. According to reports, these changes would require that lawmakers find an additional $21.5 million for the Department of Corrections budget. Some of the changes necessary would require a two-thirds majority vote by the legislature.[4]

At the conclusion of the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers agreed to two more years of 60-day limits on holding probation violators and modified Measure 73. Measure 57 will take effect at the end of the current suspension - January 1, 2012.

Measure 73 was amended to require 90-day jailings for third-time convicted drunk drivers. The costs are to be paid by the state. The measure previously required 13-month terms.[5]

In October 2011, the state released a new inmate forecast. The report indicates that 1,000 more inmates are expected by 2014. It is estimated that this will cost $30 million a year. According to the report, the increase would have been more pronounced had legislators decided not to keep most drunken drivers in local jails which refers to the amendment to Measure 73 in July 2011. The changes, forecasters said, cut the number of inmates by 360 through 2021.[6]

The full forecast report can be read here: Oregon Corrections Population Forecast - October 1, 2011

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Measure 73 (Criminal Sentences)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 802,388 56.69%
No608,31743.12%
Election results from Oregon Blue Book website.

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title read as follows:[7]

Requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, incarceration for repeated driving under influence.

Result of "Yes" Vote: “Yes” vote increases minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes (300 months), imposes minimum incarceration sentence for certain repeated driving under influence convictions (90 days).

Result of "No" Vote: “No” vote retains mandatory-minimum sentences of 70 to 100 months for certain sex crimes, provides no mandatoryminimum incarceration sentence for driving under influence.

Summary

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According to the description prepared by the Oregon Secretary of State:[7]

Current law imposes mandatory-minimum sentences of 70 to 100 months for certain sex crimes; no mandatory-minimum incarceration sentence for driving under influence of intoxicants (DUII). Measure imposes mandatory-minimum sentence of 300 months for person convicted of “major felony sex crime” if previously convicted of major felony sex crime; defines “major felony sex crime” as first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, using child in sexually explicit display; previous conviction includes statutory counterpart in another jurisdiction, and separate criminal episode in same sentencing proceeding. Measure makes DUII a class C felony if defendant previously convicted of DUII, or statutory counterpart, at least twice in prior 10 years; imposes mandatory-minimum sentence of 90 days, at state expense. Other provisions.

Financial impact

The financial impact, according to the Secretary of State's office:[7]

The measure will require additional state spending of $1.4 million in the first year, $11.4 million to $14.6 million in the second year $13.9 million to $21.0 million in the third year, $16.7 million to $26.6 million in the fourth year and $18.1 million to $29.1 million each year after that.

The measure does not require additional local government spending. The measure directly reduces expenditures for local government by $0.4 million in the first year and $3.2 million to $4.6 million each year after that, primarily by shifting costs to the state.

The measure does not increase the amount of funds collected for state or local government.

The explanation of the financial impact statement read as follows:[7]

State Impact: There will be no immediate cost to the state for the repeat sex offender provision of the measure because the few offenders subject to the measure are sentenced under current law to an average of 15 years. As such, no new prison beds would be needed for the 25-year sentences required by this measure until after 2017.
The driving under the influence provisions of the measure will increase costs to the state in a number of ways. Offenders will spend more time in prison, which increases the cost of running prisons as well as administrative overhead. The state will be required to pay all county costs for jail time. The courts will incur added costs to try offenders covered by this measure. Finally, the measure will increase costs for court appointed attorneys for defense of felony charges.
These costs will be $1.4 million in the first year, and increase to between $18.1 and $29.1 million per year after the fifth year. Actual costs will depend on the number of individuals who are charged and convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants as a felony.

Local Impact: The measure does not require additional spending by local government. The measure directly reduces expenditures for local government by $400,000 in the first year and $3.2 to $4.6 million each year after that. The state will pay for local jail and probation costs for offenders who would have been convicted previously of misdemeanors. Currently, this is a county cost.

Implementing the Measure: The current prison population is around 14,000. Over the next five years, the measure could require between 400 and 600 additional prison beds, depending on the number of people convicted of crimes under this measure.
The measure does not identify a funding source. Today the costs of prisons are paid for out of the state General Fund, which comes mostly from income taxes. The General Fund is also used to pay for public education, services for children, the elderly, and the disabled (including medical care), public safety, and other programs.

Support

Kevin Mannix, president of the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance and Republican gubernatorial candidate, in an Oregonian editorial said, "Measure 73 is about public safety reforms, which are long overdue. The Legislature has had drunken driving sentencing legislation in front of it since the 1990s, but we still have sentencing laws that are weak, even for those with a third conviction."[8]

In regard to arguments that the proposed measure would not be affordable, Mannix said, "As to affordability, even the highest cost estimate says that one-fifth of 1 percent of the general fund would be used to cover the sentences under Measure 73. And even that level of cost wouldn't be reached until five years from now."[8]

Donors

October 2010 reports revealed that supporters raised at least $2,800 through the "Yes on 73" Committee. However, according to reports, most were in-kind contributions from Mannix's law firm; $100 was donated as a miscellaneous cash contribution.[9]. The Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance donated over $2,400 of in-kind contributions to the "Yes on 73" Committee[10].

Opposition

Opponents argued that the proposal would have been costly to the state because according to the text, the measure did not propose how to pay for the additional inmates. Partnership for Safety and Justice associate director Shannon Wright said, spending more on prisons was too costly when "court-supervised treatments are more effective intervention." Additionally, Wight argued that "just imposing longer prison sentences is not effective in reducing drunk driving."[11]

Arguments

  • The measure was described as an "unfunded mandate." According to reports, Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley and Democrat rival John Kitzhaber were both against the proposed measure. Both joined opponents in agreeing that the measure would be costly to the state.[12]

Donors

The No on Measure 73 committee was first formed on September 14, 2010[13]. According to campaign finance reports with the Oregon Secretary of State, the No on Measure 73 committee only received in-kind contributions as of September 25, 2010[14].

Defend Oregon was another committee registered in opposition to Measure 73. The committee was officially formed on October 8, 2010[15]. Defend Oregon supported Measures 70, 71, and 76.

The following is a list of donors from Defend Oregon in opposition of Measure 73.[16].

Contributor Amount
Oregonians for Water, Parks, and Wildlife $500,000
Oregon AFSCME Council 75 $205,000
SEIU Local 503 $60,000
Voting Matters $59,200
American Federation of Teachers-Oregon Issue PAC $55,000

Reports and analysis

Oregon Citizen Initiative Review

See also: Oregon Citizen Initiative Review

On August 13, 2010 the panel announced their findings on Measure 73. According to reports, 21 of the 24 panelists opposed the proposed measure citing that it would cost too much and limit judges' power. Of the three that supported the measure, they said the harsher penalties could help deter crime and increase public safety.[17][18]

The statements by the majority of the panel, those in favor and those opposed can be read here.

The panel consisted of 24 randomly selected citizens. According to reports, organizer Healthy Democracy Oregon said that the panel included a cross-section of age, ethnicity and party affiliation. The group heard arguments for and against the proposed ballot measure. At the end of each week, the panel offered a statement based on the hearings and arguments presented during the week.[19] The crafted statements by the panel were printed on the state's voters' pamphlet.[20]

In 2009 the Oregon State Legislature endorsed the Citizen Initiative Review as a pilot project. According to Healthy Democracy Oregon, organizers of the project, no state tax money was involved in the process. The total cost was estimated at $150,000 and was funded through grants and private donations. The project was evaluated by a team from the University of Washington.[20]

Response to review

Opponent of the proposed measure, Gail Meyer of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said she thought the process was successful and provided voters a new level of exposure to all of the details of a ballot measure.[21]

However, not everybody agreed the process worked well. Former Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad, of the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, said the process was flawed. Harcleroad argued that misleading and inaccurate information was provided to the panelists and not enough time was made available to counter the misinformation.[21] According to an article published on OregonCatalyst.com, the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance argued that there were numerous other flaws in the process. Such cited flaws included: unbalanced background witnesses, limited search for information due to poor time allocation, and the accuracy of information was questionable.[22]

Healthy Democracy Oregon Co-Director Tyrone Reitman responded directly to the accusations made by Harcleroad on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Load radio program and here in an article by The Source Weekly newspaper, calling the claims "baseless."[23]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures, 2010

Opposition

  • The Oregonian was opposed to Measure 73. The editorial board said, "We share voters' sentiments: There are few characters less sympathetic than a drunken driver on his fourth arrest or a sex offender of any kind. However, Measure 73 has a fatal flaw. It's another unfunded crime mandate at a time when Oregon sits in a deep budget hole."[24]
  • The Mail Tribune was opposed to Measure 73. "The 2011 session of the Legislature will grapple with a $3 billion hole in the next two-year budget. Measure 73 wouldn't amount to a very large chunk of that, but every dollar should be on the table. This measure would lock up some of those dollars. We recommend a no vote on Ballot Measure 73," said the editorial board.[25]
  • The Register-Guard opposed Measure 73: "The measure would increase the cost of the state corrections system by an estimated $18 million a year by 2015, while reducing the scope of judicial discretion."[26]
  • The Daily Astorian opposed Measure 73. "With the state facing a budget shortfall and citizens clamoring for fiscal restraint, legislators are anticipating a bare-knuckles fight over dollars for schools, law enforcement, health care and other needs. Passage of this measure would only intensify the battle," said the editorial board.[27]
  • The Oregon Daily Emerald opposed Measure 73. "Vague language could end up punishing first-time offenders and sentencing teenagers to 25 years for "sexting." The measure doesn't address the root problems behind DUIs or sex crimes, and studies have shown mandatory minimum sentences don't deter either crime. At a price tag of $238 million and no proven results, Oregon can't afford to approve Measure 73," said the editorial board.[28]
  • The Wallowa County Chieftain opposed Measure 73. The editorial board said, "The money to pay for putting more people in prison, and for longer terms, would have to come from the state's general fund, already frayed from overbudgeting."[29]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

  • A poll conducted August 18-21, 2010 by Grove Insight revealed that 62% of polled voters favored the proposed measure, while 21% were opposed and 16% were undecided. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. A total of 600 registered Oregon voters were polled.[30][31]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
August 18-21, 2010 Grove Insight 62% 21% 16% 600

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

Initiative petitions for statutes required six percent of 1,379,475, or 82,769 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010.

According to reports, initiative supporters filed 77,429 signatures as of March 31.[32] In May 2010, reports indicated a total of 95,815 signatures.[33] According to July reports, supporters had 66,716 signatures validated. An additional 47,471 signatures were submitted on deadline day.[34][35] The Secretary of State's office has 30 days to verify the names.[36]

In total, of the 136,674 signatures filed for verification, 93,223 or 68.2% were validated by state officials. On July 16 the Oregon Secretary of State certified the measure for the November 2010 general election ballot.[37]

Aftermath

2011 budget

During the 2011 legislative session Measure 57 and Measure 73, approved in 2010, became one of the focal points during the budget discussion. According to Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed budget, Measure 57 would continue to be suspended and Measure 73 would be implemented. The 2010 measure would require 25-year prison terms for repeat felony sex offenders and jail time for repeat drunk drivers. The proposed budget assumes that the current prisons could handle the impact of Measure 73. The measure, however, also requires the state to compensate counties for jailing repeat drunk drivers. According to reports, these changes would require that lawmakers find an additional $21.5 million for the Department of Corrections budget. Some of the changes necessary would require a two-thirds majority vote by the legislature.[38]

Measure amendments

At the conclusion of the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers agreed to two more years of 60-day limits on holding probation violators and modified Measure 73. Measure 57 will take effect at the end of the current suspension - January 1, 2012. Measure 73 was amended to require 90-day jailings for third-time convicted drunk drivers. The costs are to be paid by the state. The measure previously required 13-month terms.[39]

See also

News Articles

External links

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Additional reading

References

  1. The Argus Observer,"Oregon approves five of seven ballot measures," November 5, 2010
  2. The Statesman Journal,"Crime, medical marijuana initiatives qualify for ballot," July 17, 2010
  3. Willamette Week,"Two Initiatives Qualify For The Oregon Ballot," July 16, 2010
  4. Statesman Journal,"Lingering issues could delay end of legislative session," June 11, 2011
  5. Statesman Journal,"Kulongoski to take on sentencing laws," July 10, 2011
  6. The Oregonian,"Oregon prison forecast: 2,000 more inmates over next decade," September 30, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Oregon Secretary of State,"Measure 73 text," accessed October 25, 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Oregonian,"Measure 73: An overdue reform of public safety," September 21, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 Associated Press,"Ore. measure seeks harsher penalties for sex crime," October 9, 2010
  10. ORESTAR "Committee Detail-Yes On 63 (2010)," accessed October 25, 2010
  11. The Oregonian,"With the strapped Oregon budget, the cost of Measure 73 crime crackdown is muting support," October 1, 2010
  12. Statesman Journal,"Measure 73 criticized as 'unfunded mandate'," October 5, 2010
  13. ORESTAR "Committee Registration-No on 73 (2010)"
  14. ORESTAR "Campaign Finance Detail-No on 73 Committee, Accessed October 25, 2010
  15. ORESTAR "Statement of Organization-Defend Oregon," accessed on October 26, 2010
  16. ORESTAR "Committee Detail-Defend Oregon (2010)," accessed on October 26, 20101
  17. The Oregonian,"Citizen review panel releases findings; most oppose measure to increase mandatory minimum prison sentences," August 13, 2010
  18. Statesman Journal,"Panelists reach conclusions on Measure 73" August 14, 2010
  19. Oregon Public Broadcasting,"Citizen Panel Reviewing Oregon Ballot Measures," August 9, 2010
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Oregonian,"Oregon citizens panel will weigh in on ballot measures for November election," August 10, 2010
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Register-Guard,"Voter panels weigh ballot measures," August 14, 2010
  22. OregonCatalyst.com,"Citizen Initiative Review Deeply Flawed," August 13, 2010
  23. Response and newslinks sent by Healthy Democracy, sent via email on November 2, 2010.
  24. The Oregonian,"Vote no on Measure 73, another unfunded crime mandate," September 13, 2010
  25. Mail Tribune,"Measure 73: No," October 6, 2010
  26. Register-Guard, "Summary of recommendations," October 18, 2010
  27. The Daily Astorian,"Ballot Measure 73," October 18, 2010
  28. Oregon Daily Emerald,"Editorial: Emerald recommendations for ballot measures," October 21, 2010
  29. Wallowa County Chieftain,"EDITORIAL: The state ballot measures: our recommendations," October 14, 2010
  30. Grove Insight,"Findings from a Statewide Poll on Oregon Ballot Measures," September 2, 2010
  31. The Oregonian,"Poll shows uncertain fate for Oregon ballot measures," September 7, 2010
  32. The Oregonian,"So far, three Oregon initiatives look likely to qualify for ballot," April 15, 2010
  33. The Oregonian,"Oregon initiative petitioning gearing up, but few may make ballot," May 17, 2010
  34. Blue Oregon,"Signatures turned in for fall ballot measures," July 3, 2010
  35. The Statesman Journal,"Ballot proposals address marijuana, prisons, casino," July 3, 2010
  36. The Oregonian,"Six citizen initiatives may make Oregon's November ballot," July 2, 2010
  37. The Register-Guard,"Pot, crime to be on ballot," July 17, 2010
  38. Statesman Journal,"Lingering issues could delay end of legislative session," June 11, 2011
  39. Statesman Journal,"Kulongoski to take on sentencing laws," July 10, 2011