Oregon Primary Election 2008 Guide: Measures

The Oregon Primaries are coming up in a few weeks, and there is actually more to vote on than just Hillary or Barrack.  Following is my take on several of the measures for this election:

Oregon Measure 51: NO

This measure, which amends Section 42 of the Oregon Constitution, is called a “house-keeping measure” since it helps solidify laws that have already been passed, but are they good ones?  Since our legal system is based off the concept “innocent until proven guilty”, isn’t that how it should be? The defendant, until proven or plead guilty, should be treated as innocent, and therefore their rights, and not the victim’s should be more important.  The “victim’s rights” from that section include, among others, the right to refuse being interviewed by the defendant’s lawyer, which could seriously impact the defendant’s case, especially for someone wrongfully accused of a crime.  This measure strengthen laws that should not have been passed in the first place. 

It is also worth noting that the ACLU (www.aclu-or.org) is “neutral” on this measure.

Oregon Measure 52: YES

This measure, which amends Section 43 of the Oregon Constitution, is also a “house-keeping measure”, but unlike section 42, the “victim’s rights” in this section are reasonable; the right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant, and the right to have decisions for pretrial and/or bail based on that reasonable protection and likelihood to appear for trial.  Strengthening these rights, which do not infringe on the defendant’s rights, is a good idea.

The ACLU (www.aclu-or.org) is “neutral” on this measure also, but I believe that to be because they lumped the two measures together.

Oregon Measure 53: (tentative) YES

Reading the text of this measure, I am not entirely convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks of abuse, but I try to have faith in humanity.  The sections that concern me are in regards to forfeiture without conviction.  One section allows forfeiture of property for “crimes similar to the crime for which the claimant was convicted.”  If the claimant committed these similar crimes, then why aren’t they being prosecuted for them?  Another allows that “property of a claimant who has not been convicted of a crime may be forfeited in a civil forfeiture proceeding only if the claimant consents to the forfeiture…”  This is where I see a large chance of abuse; if people don’t know that it’s okay to say “No, you can’t take that” to the police (I’m assuming that the police would be the agents of the “forfeiting agency”) and not have criminal repercussions, then there could be a situation of amoral, but not illegal, “forfeitures”.  Again, I say YES to this measure because I have faith that there are more moral officers than there are amoral ones.

7 thoughts on “Oregon Primary Election 2008 Guide: Measures

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  1. FYI – I sent a letter the editor of the Oregonian, and it got printed. You can see it here if interested.

  2. Thanks for posting this! There’s very little information beyond the voter’s pamphlet available for these measures. Your input and opinions are appreciated! 🙂

  3. I received the following from Dan via email:

    You two are either cops or delusional to believe that granting the police carte blanche privileges to seize property without evidence of a crime in order to line their coffers somehow benefits society as a whole. By no means should they be granted MORE power, because as we all know, (maybe not you) “power corrupts”. My objection to the measure is based upon this premise, however I find it difficult to imagine how any police organization could possibly become even more corrupt. (with a very few insignificant exceptions)

  4. I agree with Dan’s email. I think it’s hard to say that officers will stay “moral” when it’s a proven fact that people of other races are treated worse than those who are white. That’s not very moral, and therefore I refuse to give them a “moral” power.

  5. I had an ex cop tell me once, “10% of all cops are VERY honest, 10% are totally dishonest and the rest fall somewhere in between”, I do not see how you can vote yes on 53. The bigger question is , why are there no against arguments in the voter’s info booklet? I hope people read this thing closer than you did Justin.

  6. I have always been a firm believer that it is your right to scrutinize authority. Not for oppositional or defiant purposes, but to ensure that they fufill what they were hired to do. Police are and should be held with the same mindset. People in a position of power have a responsibility to wield it wisley. Police are similar to money. Its not the money that is evil it is the intelligence behind the person holding it. If we pass a rediculous law like this then sooner of later police authority will find another way to abuse their power. Lets not forget that state and city vehicles have on their licence plates “publicly owned”. Lets remember that the people who drive them are as well.

  7. Addendum to the above for measure 53:

    When I make a decision on a vote, I always ask myself, “Who stands to gain from this?”

    NO is my obvious vote!!!

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