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Mr. Clark does not have "jail hanging over his head." He has 2 years PRISON which is essentially what we used to call a suspended execution of sentence meaning if revoked he WILL do 2 years, not just a couple weeks in jail.
In concept I agree with posters who say that people in positions of public trust should get enhanced sentences. However Official Misconduct is only a misdemeanor usually carrying minimal jail time, not even a felony.
To those doubtful about plea bargain rates just go to the State Court Administrator's website which tracks rates of jury trials for each judicial district and statewide. The last year for which there are full year stats are 2010
In my county, Clatsop we tried more than average more than average of criminal cases - about 7%. (In the first half of 2011 we tried almost 10%) You will see that the state-wide average is 4.5% Any other case was either dismissed or resolved by some sort of plea negotiation.
This plea bargain has more prison time hanging over this man's head than he would have had if he had been convicted at trial. Oregon's sentencing guidelines are VERY lenient. He stands convicted of two crimes - one a felony. He can never be a cop again, has to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, cannot go to Tillamook County except to visit his parents, and can never have any contact with the victim.. The plea agreement (the way 95% of all crimes in Oregon and the US are resolved) had the specific approval of the victim's family.
If if was YOUR 14-year old daughter, would you rather have her torn apart in public by a defense attorney or know with absolute certainty that the man who took advantage of her was now a convicted felon, unable to ever hold a position of trust again, and facing 2 years in prison if he violates probation?
(that's not MAYBE 2 years in prison - that is the set penalty if a judge revokes his probation)
This case is not over so follow coverage to see what happen may happen to others.
More disturbing but not broadcast because of time limitations was testimony by Jayne Ferlitsch that she had been checking the prison website EVERY year for the anticipated release date. When an inmate enters the Department of Corrections (DOC) they are evaluated and for obvious reasons their sentence is calculated - based on the sentencing order. Yet for over 10 years DOC reported Willie's release date as 2016, not 2012. Suddenly in 2011 it was changed.
Why? Dan was unable to get a response from DOC nor was I.
For people justifiably angry about lenient treatment of repeat DUII offenders consider this:
You passed, by almost 60%, Measure 73 in 2010. It called for felony treatment on third DUII conviction within 10 years (a DUII diversion does not count). Even though Kevin Mannix wrote the bill he went to the legislature and agreed with legislators to take AWAY the 16-25 month prison sentences associated with Felony DUII and limit the sentences to a MAXIMUM of 90 days in jail. Many jails have very limited space and release inmates early so now if convicted of a 4-time DUII felony DUII the defendant will likely to 13-25 months but if only a 3-time DUII, 90 days or less. The excuse was the supposedly enormous cost to locking up a a couple dozen repeat DUII felons.
What is it worth to prevent more heartbreak such as that endured by the Ferlitch family?
DISCLOSURE: I am Joshua Marquis, the District Attorney in Astoria
The Judge wrote a perfectly valid 190-month sentence order handed top BOTH me as the DA AND the defense lawyer. If there was a problem we would have addressed it then.
What happened was 12 years LATER DOC decides they are going to release this multiple-killer 3 years early.
Since they are required to notify the DA we immediately caught it - learning off their new interpretation of the sentence for the first time, notified the victim, DOC, and when DOC didn't respond, KATU.
It wasn't an "oopsie"
It was a perfectly valid sentencing order that everyone
EXCEPT DOC understood.
They seem far too anxious to get inmates out the door.
In over 20+ years I've never once seen an "oopsie" that
keeps an inmate in longer......
Oregon law makes it extremely difficult to give even repeat violent offenders truly lengthy prison sentences.
An there are those who think the money is wasted because supposedly we don't make them better by locking them up. I disagree and think most Oregonians do too, but watch the next couple sessions of the Oregon Legislature, particularly the Senate Judiciary Committee
The hearing will be taking place on January 6 in Clatsop County.
This is the problem with bureaucracies that don't pay close enough attention to the details. Wounds get re-opened without necessity. What we would do, what another court would do is either contact the judge or examine the record. DOC did neither. DOC made it clear the ONLY way they would revise the sentence release date is if the order were "clarified" or "amended" and since they hold Mr. Willie I have no choice, but people should know what is happening and the reaction to this story makes it pretty clear how most people feel.