Ignoring the Warning Signs

Chief Justice Martha Walters fires Office of Public Defense Services commission members

“None of this is to suggest any nefarious conduct or motive on behalf of the Oregon Chief Justice. To the contrary, there is every reason to believe that the current and any future Chief Justice fully desires for the [commission] to properly carry out its work.”

The findings and recommendations regarding the Chief Justice and the commission were apparently of such importance that they were even included in the 6AC’s short summary of the 238-page report.

When asked about the present situation, 6AC’s Deputy Director Jon Mosher said, “As we said in 2019, the composition of [the commission] does not meet national standards that call for diverse appointments so that no single branch of government can exert outsize control over the commission’s affairs.”

Mosher continued, “The people who set all public defense policy in Oregon’s state courts serve entirely at the pleasure of a single justice. Meanwhile, the executive and legislative branches are excluded from holding any stake in or responsibility for the success of the public defense system — as are members of the client community, academicians, researchers, minority constituents, and others who might have much to contribute.”

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