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Supplement to the City Club of Portland Bulletin Vol. 93, No. 19; October 22, 2010

STATE OF OREGON MEASURE 73: Requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, incarceration for repeated driving under influence.

Ballot Measure 73 would increase the minimum sentences for certain repeat sex offenses and repeat driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). Proponents of the measure argue that increased sentences for these crimes are necessary to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders and would lower rates of recidivism, i.e. repeat criminal behavior.

The measure’s proponents defend the pairing of sentencing policy for sex offenders and DUIIs as focusing on two types of dangerous re-offenders. Your committee, however, found no logical connection between these distinctly separate classes of crimes, other than their potentially uniform political appeal. Thus, your committee separately analyzed the public safety and cost issues related to each set of crimes.

Your committee found that the sex offender component of Measure 73 had a limited public safety and fiscal impact because it would apply to very few offenders, for whom long sentences are either currently mandated or imposed by judges. The DUII component of the measure would apply to many more offenders annually and is responsible for the majority of the fiscal impact of the measure. Your committee found that the measure’s increased mandatory minimum sentences for repeat DUII offenders are also unlikely to increase public safety and could undermine programs that currently reduce the incidence of repeat DUII crimes by diverting public safety funds away from these programs.

Finding no compelling evidence that either the sex offender or the DUII component of Measure 73 would enhance public safety, your committee opposes the mandatory minimum sentences included in the measure. Given the current state budget crisis, your committee’s opposition to the measure is even stronger because the cost of the measure would divert funds away from other critical state services.

Your committee is also concerned that Measure 73 improperly transfers power from judges to prosecutors and could have unintended consequences. These unintended consequences could include DUII sentences ten months longer than the 90 days required by the Measure and the possibility that juveniles exchanging explicit photographs could receive mandatory 25-year sentences.



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