Oregon is a scenic portion of the Pacific Northwest with a diverse
landscape. The state boasts long stretches of Pacific coastline, scores
of waterfalls, dense evergreen forests, and numerous volcanoes. Crater
Lake is a major state attraction, due to its unique status as a caldera
lake. Water collects from rain and snow in the caldera of a volcano,
and because there are not inlets or outlets, the water is some of the
clearest in the world.
Oregon incarcerates about 373 per 100,000 residents, which is
significantly lower than the national rate of 502. The state is ranked
30th in the nation for rate of imprisonment. Oregon has recently
experienced a drop in crime rates to the lowest level in 40 years.
Oregon implemented a controversial piece of legislation regarding
sentencing requirements in 1994. Measure 11 requires a sentencing judge
to give a non-negotiable minimum sentence for certain crimes. This
Measure also ensures that the sentence cannot be decreased below this
mandatory level through parole or good behavior.
Juveniles who commit the crimes addressed in Measure 11 must be tried
as adults. Crimes affected by this measure include manslaughter,
assault, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, sexual
abuse and robbery.
Proponents of Measure 11 argue that harsher, mandatory sentencing
reduces crime, while opponents argue that judges should have discretion
over sentencing while taking into consideration the circumstances on
each individual case. Opponents also object to the requirement to try
all juveniles as adults regarding these crimes. There have been
multiple attempts to repeal Measure 11, but these measures have so far
In 1998, the Medical Marijuana Act was established by Oregon Ballot
Measure 67. The law passed with 56.4% of the vote. This measure changed
state law to allow the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana by
prescription by patients who meet certain medical criteria. Oregon was
the second state, behind California, to pass a law allowing for the
medical use of marijuana.
Despite this law, for most residents in the state, the possession,
cultivation or sale of Marijuana continues to be strictly illegal. To
gain legal access to marijuana, an individual must work through a
complicated process with their doctor to establish a medical need. Even
with a medical marijuana card, there are very specific restrictions
regarding how the substance can obtained and legal quantities for
possession. A medical card does not make it legal for a person to drive
under the influence of marijuana.
Right to Representation
If you are charged with any crime, you have the right to be represented
by a lawyer. In the State of Oregon, if you cannot afford to hire an
attorney, you have the right to have a public defender appointed to
your case. To apply for a public defender, you will have to fill out
some paperwork given to you by the court.
Based on your application, the judge will determine your ability to
pay. If it is decided that you cannot afford to hire counsel, you will
be appointed one. You might think you can represent yourself, but in
any criminal matter it is unwise not to have an attorney with the
training and expertise needed to protect you and your rights.