Critics Question OR Law On Trying Youths As Adults


Two advocacy groups question whether many offenders younger than 18 should be tried as adults under Oregon’s mandatory-sentencing law, known as Measure 11, says the Statesman Journal in Salem. The groups are the Partnership for Safety and Justice, which has been critical of Measure 11, and the national Campaign for Youth Justice.

Voters approved Measure 11 in 1994 to impose mandatory minimum sentences for 16 violent crimes, require youths charged with those crimes to be tried as adults, and if convicted, serve the same sentence applying to adults. The number of crimes now is 21. The groups analyzed data on 3,274 youths indicted under Measure 11, especially 759 cases handled between 2006 and 2008. The groups said, based on the 2006-08 period, there is no connection between the number of young people charged with Measure 11 crimes and the juvenile crime rate in Oregon’s 36 counties. It also said that 9 of 10 offenders indicted for a Measure 11 crime end up negotiating with prosecutors for plea agreements that do not result in a trial before a judge.

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