Portland Tribune, February 26, 2019
Just last week, Gov. Kate Brown greeted attendees of the biennial Justice Reinvestment Summit in Salem with a rousing cry: She will withhold state funding from county district attorneys who do not lower the number of convicted felons they send to prison.
Let me tell you what inappropriate touching feels like.
It's nothing like the prolonged hugs, the hand on the shoulder, the rubbing up against another person that is apparently rife inside the state Capitol building.
Inappropriate touching is when you come home from work and find that someone has broken into your home and ransacked the place.
Your late grandmother's jewelry — of no particular value other than sentimental — is gone, never to be seen again. The laptop you recently gave your daughter for her birthday — gone. The dresser drawers of her bureau have been pulled out, the contents sorted through and dumped on the floor.
For the next hour, you'll think of an item and wonder if they got that, too. Yes, the camera is missing. CDs, vinyl records, hiking boots, leather jacket, your old trumpet from high school marching band. Your daughter's bicycle parked in the utility room — gone.
As a former district attorney, over the years I heard victims compare burglary to what it must feel like to be raped.
Yet lawmakers, obsessed with the lingering hugs and suggestive comments cited in an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries report on sexual harassment, have no trouble dismissing the fear that comes from having the sanctity of your home invaded by strangers.
One of the most vocal lawmakers — state Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis — succeeded in driving one of her colleagues out of office for hugging her and touching her in a way that made her uncomfortable. Yet she joined with many of the state's Democrats in easing criminal sentencing of serious felonies — including burglary.
In 2017, she and many other Democrats voted to approve HB 3078, to reduce criminal sentences for property crimes.
Just last week, Gov. Kate Brown greeted attendees of the biennial Justice Reinvestment Summit in Salem with a rousing cry: She will withhold state funding from county district attorneys who do not lower the number of convicted felons they send to prison.This governor gladly signed HB 3078 into law. She will ease off thieves, but she will go after prosecutors. Brown uttered not one word about the harm property criminals do to people trying to hang on to what they have.
One of the few times in my career that a jury came back smiling was in a burglary case I tried as a young prosecutor in Newport. The victim was a 25-year-old waitress who lived in a trailer with two cats. She befriended a man down on his luck and let him stay with her. He quickly became abusive. She told him to leave.
She came home one day and found that he had broken in, torn the place apart, killed both of her cats and smeared their blood on the walls.
The jury was happy to convict. The man got a 20-year sentence but served about two. That was in 1986.
Today, he could claim either a substance abuse problem or mental illness. He could be cut loose and offered services — courtesy of justice reinvestment, a concept embraced by lawmakers who flinch at an inappropriate touch.
Animal Wellness Action Press Release
Animal Wellness Action welcomes Joshua Marquis as Director of Legal Affairs and Enforcement
For Immediate Release:
Marty Irby • 202-821-5686
Marquis will promote the enforcement of animal protection laws and form a national law enforcement council focused on animal issues
Washington, D.C. — Animal Wellness Action (AWA) is pleased to announce that Joshua Marquis has joined the group as Director of Legal Affairs and Enforcement. An experienced prosecutor with an accomplished record on animal protection cases, Marquis will help coordinate efforts by AWA to bring state and federal laws against animal cruelty into the 21st century and empower efforts to use the law to protect animals.
“Josh Marquis has a unique mix of skills as a trial lawyer and a fierce public advocate, bringing special skills to the task of fortifying the legal framework against animal cruelty,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “Marquis’ 35 years of commitment to fighting animal abuse and neglect will help create partnerships that cross traditional political and professional divides.”
Marquis retired in December 2018 after serving seven terms as elected District Attorney of Clatsop County (Astoria) in Oregon. He was both chief trial prosecutor and administrator of the largest law firm in the county and personally tried hundreds of jury trials, including numerous animal cruelty cases.
Marquis developed a reputation for a passion for animals during his terms as Chief Deputy District Attorney in Newport, Ore and Bend, Ore. One of his first cases in Astoria was against Vicky Kittles, a woman hoarding a school bus full of cats. Marquis made animal abuse a state legislative issue and was a driving force behind an upgrade of the state’s anti-cruelty law in the mid-1990s to make malicious cruelty a felony.
Well-known for his straight-talking nature, Marquis has testified before the Congress half a dozen times, spoken dozens of times across America on topics relating to law and contemporary society, has contributed many opinion pieces to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and others, is a regular guest on national radio and television programs, and is the author of several widely-referenced law review articles.
Marquis previously served on the Board of Directors of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). He co-chaired the Media Relations Committee for the National District Attorney’s Association, in which he remains a member. He has received national recognition for his work for his years of work advocating for more effective laws regarding animal cruelty. Marquis is a graduate of the University of Oregon Honors College and the University of Oregon Law School.
Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.
JOSHUA MARQUIS on
criminal justice, animal welfare, and the nature of the relationship between popular culture and the law.
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