Courthouse arsonist up for HB 3508 early release

Attempted Police Killer, Marion County Courthouse Arsonist Set for HB 3508 Early Release Hearing
By Crime Victims United,

House Bill 3508 Early Release Hearing for Christopher Lee Millis, Thurs., Jan. 14th 8:30 a.m. Lane County Courthouse, Judge Debra Vogt
It is suggested that you confirm this with Court Administration on Wednesday afternoon. The following case is receiving a hearing under HB 3508 passed by the 2009 Legislature to give an additional 10% “earned time” to the already 20% most convicted felons in Oregon receive. The federal government and most states using sentencing guidelines allow for a maximum 15% “earned time.” The primary architects of HB 3508, Senator Chip Shields D-Portland and Senator Floyd Prozanski D-Eugene have stated that the bill provided additional “earned time” for low level property and drug criminals only.

Christopher Lee Millis of Keizer crashed his pickup into the Marion County Courthouse on November 12, 2005 and set fires inside that would lead to the eventual total restoration of the county building originally built in the 1950’s. Millis was sentenced in the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene where he received a 16-year sentence for numerous crimes including Attempted Murder, Burglary in the First Degree, seven counts of First Degree Arson, and four counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
Millis was regarded as a problem, an angry neighbor, and a person who was clearly controlling of his wife and several children. Prior to damaging the courthouse, he fired a gun at a Keizer Police officer, lit fires to several cars in the police parking lot, and fired a gun at houses along the way to the courthouse.

He had parked his pickup truck near the courthouse in Salem and switched out of the passenger car after losing pursuing police, then used the truck to smash the front of the courthouse.

According to Oregon law Measure 11, Millis must serve every day of the first 7 1/2 years mandatory minimum sentence for Attempted Murder, before becoming eligible for “earned time” to reduce his remaining sentence of 8 1/2 years. The maximum “earned time” available to Millis was 20% until the 2009 Legislature increased it to 30%.

This was done ostensibly to save money, however the actual reason was to change the truth in sentencing policy that had passed into law in 1989 under the leadership of then chairman of the Oregon Criminal Justice Council, Hardy Myers. Myers, a Democrat, was also a former Speaker of the Oregon House and the Attorney General of Oregon. This policy served the Oregon Criminal Justice System and the Oregon Department of Corrections in a very satisfactory manner for 20 years.

“Make no mistake about it, despite the recession, this 50% increase in “earned time” for convicted Oregon felons was not about saving money. After all, the projected savings of six million dollars in a fifty-four billion dollar all funds budget is less than 1/100th of 1%. This was about a fundamental philosophical shift in Oregon Criminal Justice Policy,” stated Steve Doell, President of Crime Victims United, an advocacy group for crime victims and sound public safety policy. “Remember what a famous politician once said, ‘Never waste a good crisis,'” Doell concluded.

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