04-19-2021  12:15 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By Brian Stimson of The Skanner News
Published: 28 October 2010

On Wednesday, Portland City Councilors unanimously passed an ordinance that would allow the city to seize and sell property used during a crime of prostitution or human trafficking.

Sponsored by Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the ordinance would make any property that is used or obtained through proceeds of a prostitution-related crime subject to forfeiture. The new ordinance specifically says that the property of those selling sex is not subject to seizure, which victim advocates say is a welcome change from treating prostitutes – even those under age 18 – as criminals instead of victims.

"We won't make them feel they are offenders and somehow less than worthy of our full support," Multnomah County Judge Nan Waller told the council.

State law does not distinguish between those selling and those buying sex, treating both acts as "solicitation" crimes. City Council members will be talking with legislators about changing that statute to better reflect a reality in which many prostitutes are compelled or forced into the illegal trade.

"We need to hold pimps and johns accountable," Saltzman said.

Under the new law, johns, pimps and traffickers can have property seized so long as it is used as part of the crime. If a john is driving a car to pick up a prostitute, that car can then be seized under Oregon forfeiture law. Unlike some states which only seize property purchased from criminal proceeds, Oregon law allows for law enforcement to take property that further enables a crime.

Authorities are not allowed to seize property without a conviction for the crime. Seventy five percent of proceeds will be directed to social services for victims and 25 percent will be redirected to law enforcement.

Commissioner Saltzman called the law the "first sustainable" funding stream for victim's services – which would include shelters, counseling and other services for both the public and private sector.

The ordinance was nearly unanimously praised by commissioners and from those who work in victim's services organizations. Two men told the council that the ordinance would do little to deter the world's oldest profession and that the city would be better off regulating the trade like Nevada and some European countries do to make it safer for women who choose – and are not forced – to work in the business.

"You have a trade we've plied for thousands of years," Michael O'Callahan testified. "You think you're going to stop this trade by passing a law? … Let's do the mature things about this."

Commissioner Amanda Fritz scolded the men for thinking that any woman freely enters prostitution and urged them to sit in on survivor's group session.

The new law takes effect immediately.

 

 

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • After decades of effort reparations advocates are celebrating the House Judiciary Committee's decision to send a bill to the U.S. House for a full vote. Democrats pushed the bill through the committee but Republicans are opposing it
    Read More
  • Attorneys will make closing arguments in a last chance to sway the jury to convict or acquit the former Minneapolis cop on murder and manslaughter charges MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For three weeks, prosecutors at the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd played and replayed video, supplementing the bystander video that shocked the world with multiple other angles of Floyd’s arrest. And over and over, Derek Chauvin’s attorney argued that the visual evidence is deceptive, and that Floyd was killed by his drug use and a bad heart. On Monday, attorneys on both sides will seek to drive home their cases in closing arguments that cover much of the same ground, seeking to tie their evidence into neat packages for jurors. Prosecutors will cite experts, videos and evidence Prosecutors will draw on expert testimony, videos and other evidence to explain how the white officer's actions on May 25, when he pinned the Black man's neck to the pavement with his knee for nearly 9 1/2 minutes, were “a substantial cause” of Floyd's death. And they'll highlight testimony from top Minneapolis police officials and outside use-of-force experts that an “objectively reasonable” officer would not have used that kind of force. Defense will try to persuade jurors on "reasonable doubt" Meanwhile, defense attorney Eric Nelson will try to persuade jurors that elements of testimony he elicited from prosecution witnesses and his own witnesses add up to reasonable doubt over what caused Floyd's death, whether Chauvin is responsible, or whether Floyd deserves a substantial amount of the blame. “If I was Nelson, I'd do a lot of things, because a lot of things need to be done,” Joe Friedberg, a local defense attorney not involved in the case, said. “He's in desperate trouble here.” Both sides gave some insight this week after Nelson asked Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill to acquit Chauvin. It was a routine motion that was quickly rejected, but both sides covered the main points they will probably make in closing arguments. Focus on drugs, use of force and differences of opinion Nelson argued that the state's use-of-force witnesses gave contradictory evidence on the point at which Chauvin’s use of force became unreasonable. That could be a tough sell, and even Nelson acknowledged that they all agreed it was objectively unreasonable. Nelson might have more success with another argument that he will surely make again Monday. That's to hammer at the difference between the four prosecution experts who concluded Floyd died of asphyxiation and the county medical examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, who did not. Baker did, though, classify Floyd's death as a homicide and said his heart stopped as a result of police “subdual, restraint and neck compression.” Mary Moriarty, former chief public defender said Jerry Blackwell was likely to be an effective last word to the jury: “I think he has come across as the most dynamic lawyer they have. “And this is also about race, despite the defense saying it isn’t about race. There’s something compelling about a Black man doing the closing arguments.” Friedberg said he expected Nelson to highlight the lack of forensic evidence of neck injury, as well as studies that raised doubts about “positional asphyxia” — that is, the dangers of a person suffocating while being restrained as Floyd was. He also said he expects Nelson to emphasize Floyd's drug use and resistance. “He has to begin with the fact that the way George Floyd lived, taking these drugs, you hold yourself open to being arrested, and when you're arrested the law requires that you do not resist,” Friedberg said. “When you resist ... it's a crime. It accelerates the abilities of police to take further action." The hindsight argument Mary Moriarty, the former longtime chief public defender in Hennepin County, said she expected Nelson to use a familiar defense for police officers: the difficult nature of their jobs. “I'm sure he'll say it's not fair for people in the comfort of their offices or the courtroom, who have the opportunity to look at video over and over again, to second-guess the actions of a police officer,” Moriarty said. Chauvin invoked his right not to testify, but former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger said Nelson might try to convince the jury that Chauvin meant no harm by pointing to body camera video in which the officer is heard telling a bystander: “We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy ... and it looks like he’s probably on something.” Everyone has the 'right to live' Prosecutors will present their closing first, followed by the defense, and then prosecution rebuttal. There are no time limits, but legal experts said attorneys have to weigh whether going too long risks losing the jury's attention or even hurting their case. Tom Heffelfinger, a former U.S. attorney in Minnesota, said he expects arguments to take all day, with prosecutors spending a lot of time explaining how the evidence the jury heard fits the legal specifics of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Friedberg said prosecutors would likely begin by personalizing Floyd, conceding that he had used drugs but still “had a right to live, as everyone in this country has a right to live.” Another look at traumatic video and photos Both Friedberg and Moriarty expect prosecutors to again play parts of the devastating video that dominated the first week of the trial, much of which caused bystander witnesses to break down in court as they recalled their frustration at not being able to stop Floyd's death. Moriarty said she also expected still photos to be highlighted, including one that showed Floyd's hand on a police SUV's wheel in what a medical expert testified was his desperate attempt to raise his right side off the ground to breathe. She also expected prosecutors to try to score points against Nelson's frequent portrayal of the 15 or so bystanders as an angry crowd that may have made officers feel threatened and distracted them from Floyd's care. “It's a chance for the state to show some righteous indignation,” she said. A deep prosecution team presented the state's case, and two of the most prominent attorneys — Steve Schleicher and Jerry Blackwell — were scheduled to share in the closing argument. Moriarty said Blackwell was likely to be an effective last word to the jury. “I think he has come across as the most dynamic lawyer they have,” Moriarty said. “And this is also about race, despite the defense saying it isn’t about race. There’s something compelling about a Black man doing the closing arguments.” ___ Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd
    Read More
  • Hundreds of people have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday, to protest the police shooting of 20-year-old father Daunte Wright. Despite the mayor's calls for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights have often ended in objects hurled, tear gas and arrests
    Read More
  • The coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle as those taking part in the ceremonial procession for his funeral took their places. It was loaded on a specially adapted Land Rover, designed by Philip himself, for the eight-minute journey to St. George’s Chapel. Senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle, with members of the royal family following behind
    Read More
  • Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre
    Read More
  • As protesters gather in the suburb where Daunte Wright was shot dead during a traffic stop Mayor Mike Elliott said at a news conference Wednesday that “gassing is not a human way of policing” and he didn’t agree with police using pepper spray, tear gas and paintballs against demonstrators
    Read More
  • The British Royal family will attend the funeral of Prince Philip Saturday at Windsor mourning a great grandfather who was also a unique personality whose informality sometimes got him into trouble
    Read More
  • Several legal experts said Friday that they don’t think Stillman could be charged under criteria established by a landmark 1989 Supreme Court ruling on the use of force by police, though another said prosecutors might see enough evidence to justify an involuntary manslaughter charge and let a jury decide guilt or innocence
    Read More
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Kevin Saddler