Closed-Door Hearings and Delays

*** For the latest on criminal cases against Lori Deveny, click here.

The state’s criminal case against former Portland, Oregon attorney Lori Deveny was delayed yet again — this time after two hearings from which the press and the public were excluded.

Deveny’s plea hearing, previously scheduled for August 4th, is now scheduled for September 27th. At that time, Deveny is expected to plead guilty to 92 counts of theft, identity theft, forgery, and criminal mistreatment against her former legal clients.

In an email, Scott Healy, the Clackamas First Assistant District Attorney who is prosecuting Deveny, said about the closed-door sessions, “[The hearing] was just a meeting with the judge to select a new plea date a little further out to five us a little more time to work on a few details, get all the accurate restitution figures so the proper amounts are ordered, and prepare for the open sentencing… We were done in 15 minutes or less.”

However, another county District Attorney commented by email, “There are very limited circumstances in which lawyers could talk to the judge without it being recorded and on the record, but it is a lynchpin to an open and accountable justice system that there are no ‘secret’ or ‘off the record hearings.’”

The trial in the federal criminal case against Deveny that was supposed to begin on August 16th has also been delayed. It has now been reset to October 19th.

Given the secrecy and delays, it certainly appears that there are energetic negotiations underway.

Any deal in the state or federal case must weigh the value of bringing Deveny to justice for those particular victims, versus the value of using her as an informant in whatever other schemes she was involved in or knows about.

That is to say, if Deveny was not providing useful information to state and federal authorities, both would have tried their cases already.

A further data point is that at least ten additional victims of Deveny have emerged since she was indicted in May 2019, yet no new charges have been added in the state’s case against her.

The stick is additional charges; the carrot is less jail time. The unknown factor is how many more victims and potential charges are out there that the media and the public are unaware of.

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Stephanie Volin

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