“This is more than just a public defense crisis. We have a crisis in our entire public safety system ranging from lack of prosecution resources to lack of court resources, and yes, insufficient provisions for indigent defense.”
APRIL 22, 2022 SALEM, OR — In January 2019, the State of Oregon’s legislative, executive, and judicial leaders were put on notice that major reforms were needed in Oregon’s Public Defense Service system, following an evaluation and report from The Sixth Amendment Center.
The Public Defense Service system is tasked to ensure attorney services to criminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney. The Oregon Public Defense Services Commission hired The Sixth Amendment Center to evaluate Oregon’s Public Defense System and report its findings and recommendations.
The report identified extensive failures and Constitutional violations and concluded: “The State of Oregon has created a complex bureaucracy that collects a significant amount of indigent defense data yet does not provide sufficient oversight or financial accountability. In some instances, the complex bureaucracy is itself a hindrance to effective assistance of counsel.”
Now, three years and three months later, the State of Oregon announces the public defense crisis.
Kevin Mannix, former State Representative and Senator, is leading special legislation proposals to dramatically improve the entire criminal justice system through prevention, accountability, and rehabilitation. Mannix responded to the announcement sharing the following:
“This is more than just a public defense crisis. We have a crisis in our entire public safety system ranging from lack of prosecution resources to lack of court resources, and yes, insufficient provisions for indigent defense.
“It has taken three years too long to address this issue and the backlog of cases. While I certainly support reforms to the public defense system, this is only one piece of the puzzle. Some of us will be working to dramatically improve the entire criminal justice system to better protect society and to respect the victims of crime.”
Kevin Mannix, a former Oregon state legislator, is running for State Representative to serve House District 21 (Keizer and Central Salem) as a Republican. Mannix has run his own Salem law firm since 1986 and has passed more legislation than any other person in Oregon history. Mannix is well known in Oregon political and legal circles as a crime victim advocate and the father of Measure 11, the popular ballot measure that instituted mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes.