Representative Matt Wand fighting for crime victims’ rights in parole hearings

REP. WAND WORKING TO ENSURE MORE CRIME VICTIMS ARE ALLOWED TO ADDRESS PAROLE BOARD

SALEM— Rep. Matt Wand (R-Troutdale) is working to ensure more crime victims are allowed to testify to the Oregon Board of Parole Post-Prison Supervision when their offenders are scheduled for parole hearings. Rep. Wand, a House Judiciary Committee member, is seeking to address the board’s decision to exclude victims if their offenders weren’t convicted of committing crimes against them.

The board recently cited the policy when refusing to accept testimony from known victims of Richard Troy Gillmore, a convicted rapist who admitted to assaulting several young girls and women in Multnomah County.  Because Gillmore wasn’t formally convicted of every crime he admitted to committing, those victims were not allowed to testify at Gillmore’s hearing scheduled for this week.

“Regardless of the board’s intentions, this flawed policy is denying victims their rightful opportunity to testify about the attacks they’ve suffered,” Rep. Wand said.  “East County has rallied in support of the young women who were victimized by Gillmore. I will fight to make certain that all of his victims have a voice in the future so that our community is protected.”

The board’s administrative rule effectively redefined a victim as “any person determined by the prosecuting attorney, the court or the Board to have suffered direct financial, psychological, or physical harm as a result of a crime that is the subject of a proceeding conducted by the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.”

Rep. Wand has asked the board to adopt an emergency rule allowing testimony from victims who’ve been harmed by the offender, but who are not the victim of the crime giving rise to the incarceration. Wand said he will introduce legislation during the 2013 session of the Oregon Legislature if the Parole Board fails to clean up the rule.

“The board should fix this policy even if it is limited to crimes that the convict confessed to, but a conviction was not obtained,” Rep. Wand said. “This would apply to a limited number of circumstances, but shouldn’t negatively impact how cases are prosecuted.  If the board decides to maintain the current rule, I will consider introducing legislation to resolve this issue during the 2013 session.”

UPDATES: 

Oregonian: Oregon lawmaker seeks to change rule that restricts some victims of serial rapist from testifying at his parole hearing
Rep. Matt Wand “I will fight to make certain that all of his victims have a voice in the future so that our community is protected.”

Oregonian: Oregon parole board changes its mind, will allow two more Gillmore victims to speak
Rep. Matt Wand “A true victory for crime victims.”

Portland Tribune: Parole board reverses decision on Gillmore hearing
Rep. Matt Wand “Glad to see the parole board has reversed it’s decision.”

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Crime & Sentencing, Oregon House | 20 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • NoRelease

    This is a good thing. The parole board acts sometimes like they don’t live here.

  • Constitutional

    Believe it or not sometimes people are charged with things they didn’t actually do and there are “victims” that aren’t really victims. Are we going to have some extrajudicial process to figure this out? You’re going to have “victims” of the convict on charges the convict was never lawfully convicted of giving testimony meant to keep him in our expensive prison system. I doubt it’s constitutional and it’s just a bad idea. If the DA didn’t think it was important to require a conviction on the charge or list them as a victim in the judgment you can’t have the “victim” come in at a post-prison hearing and try to keep the person in prison.

  • VictimsRights

    Constitutional,

    I believe the intent is to allow victims in cases where the criminal has confessed to testify.  These women have testified at Gillmore’s past parole hearing.  He confessed after the statute of limitations had run out and thus was never convicted.  He has confessed to the crimes.

  • HBguy

    VictimsRights: Not sure what the intent was. But the rule seems to say that the DA can unilaterally declare people witnesses. Whether the felon admitted to victimizing that person or not. And, I don’t see anything that allows anyone to contest the DA’s designation.

    This is just another in the line of many over the past 20 years that has shifted unilateral unchecked power of the state from Judges and juries to the prosecutors.

    I hope that if this rule is passed, it is not abused by the DA’s in Oregon. 

    • HBguy

      Can declare people victims….not witnesses

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