OR Prosecutor Cuts Could Eliminate Low-Level Cases


Prosecutors populous Oregon counties say they won’t be able to aggressively prosecute some nonviolent criminals next year because of proposed budget cuts, which means some areas may become more attractive to burglars and thieves, The Oregonian reports. “It makes those who are committing the crimes more bold when they’re not held accountable,” said Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau, who added criminals would migrate to counties that are softer on crime. In Portland’s Multnomah County, District Attorney Mike Schrunk says he’ll be forced to cut 15 of 85 deputy positions if county leaders insist on budget cuts of 12 percent across the board in July. He will lose three other positions to expiring grants.

To save time, prosecutors would downgrade some felonies to misdemeanors, and that may include people caught in possession of drugs, some small-time drug dealers, and burglars of businesses and residential garages. In Eugene, prosecutor Patty Perlow was exasperated after winning a felony conviction against a man who stole shoes from the University of Oregon bookstore, then injured a security officer by slamming him against a wall. He got a year’s jail sentence, but because of budget cuts, there wasn’t room for him. The man served less than a day. “It was embarrassing,” Perlow said. “It was a waste of everyone’s time.”

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