"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jeremy Jordan and Measure 11

Check out this post in NW Republican. Frankly it's a bit shocking. I've been so wrapped up on national politics, I've been quite negligent in keeping myself informed on more local issues.

This story is horrendous.

Jeremy Jordan was sentenced to 70 months in prison after jumping into a car and running down a man on a bicycle while attempting to flee the scene of an attempted robbery (he was trying to steal beer following the cashier's refusal to sell it to him). He was highly intoxicated at the time. Blood drawn from him five hours after the accident was at a .12 BAC (the legal limit in Oregon is .08). It is conservatively estimated that at the time of the crash he was at .20 BAC. The bicyclist he ran down was merely passing by, apparently intoxicated, but writing straight, on the correct side of the rode and with his bicycle's light on.

Mr. Jordan ran down the man, never slowed, while fleeing the scene. He did this despite the fact that the bicyclist's body destroyed the windshield of Mr. Jordan's car, and he had to drive eight miles with his head stuck out the car's side window in order to see.

The bicyclist was severely injured. In the words of District Attorney Schrunk "The victim suffered devastating head-injuries, internal injuries, and many broken bones, including his legs. He was in a coma for several days, and the doctors believed he would die. He spent about six months in various medical and rehab facilities, including a month in Emanuel, and had to re-learn how to talk, walk and recognize his wife and family (he still has overwhelming cognitive issues, speech problems, and uses a cane or walker-this is a man who was an outdoor enthusiast, a hiker, biker, and world traveler). He is now a completely different person and will have a caregiver for the rest of his life."

So basically a drunk man (Mr. Jordan) attempts to buy beer, physically tries to steal it when the grocery refuses to sell it to him, scuffles with the clerk and elderly security guard, flees the store on foot into the neighborhood. He comes back ten minutes later, either angry or scared, jumps into his car and runs down a passing bicyclist as he floors it out of the parking lot. Without a pause, he drives home leaving the man for dead, locks his damaged car in his garage, and is soon after arrested by police since his licence plate had knocked off by the impact of the bicycle.

Oh, and Mr. Jordan has a history of violence and drunkenness (despite his assertion that has has no history of violence). Again from District Attorney Schrunk "First, there is his prosecution for Assault IV in 2002 in Washington. Like his 2004 DUll, it was diverted and ultimately dismissed, as was a charge of Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer, but he pled to the assault and was supervised for one year on probation. In 2000 he was arrested for Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct, and Criminal Mischief. He pled guilty to Resisting Arrest, was placed on 18 months probation, and the other two charges were dismissed. In addition to this criminal history, Jordan has a juvenile record that includes Theft I in 1995, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in 1991, and Burglary I in 1989."

Amazingly, Mr. Jordan is now part of a campaign to overturn the popular Measure 11 (wikipedia article here) under which he was sentenced.

From I AM COYOTE at NW Republican "Mr. Jordan wrote a letter to Governor Kulongoski (another enemy of the rule of law) asking for help in repealing Measure 11, the measure under which Mr. Jordan received his sentence. The letter, which was the basis of the story in The Big Ho and HO-P-B, portrayed Mr. Jordan as an innocent victim of the system, who received far too harsh of a sentence given the nature of his crime."

The post has both the letters of Mr. Jordan and District Attorney Schrunk. As to be expected, the disparity between them is enormous. Most particularly cloying in Mr. Jordan's letter is what follows: "What I did was reckless and stupid, but not intentionally violent. My problem is alcohol. I would never have made any of those bad decisions in a sober state. I even tried to prove to the court that I am serious about staying sober by voluntarily completing a 90-day treatment program. But the court and the DA mocked my efforts and still would not budge off of the Measure 11 charge. It makes me wonder why it’s so important to them that I serve a mandatory sentence."

Mr. Jordan attempted to rob a store, then ran down a bicyclist as he fled. This is not intentionally violent?

Distirct Attorney Schrunk responds "Defendant states in his August 2009 letter to Oregonian colunmist Susan Nielsen that he was unaware of his 'alcohol problem' until after the crash. First, this misses the point. The 'problem' is not the alcohol, but instead Mr. Jordan's violent and reckless acts that night directed at three victims, starting with the robbery and ending with his driving into a vulnerable human being and leaving him lying in the road. He claims in his letter to you not to have acted violently, yet clearly he did, and the alcohol is his excuse. While he has an alcohol problem, and I'm sure he knew that, he claims that, after his 2004 arrest for DUI1, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Speed Racing, and Refusing a Breath Test, and receiving the privilege of entering a DUII diversion program to treat this alcohol problem (with dismissal of all the charges) he failed to take the program seriously, choosing instead to treat it as 'a joke.' Well, it was not a joke. Instead, while he had the chance to get treatment and get sober, attend the Victims' Panel (which involves victims of DUn drivers telling them what other DUI1 drivers did to them), and take his problem seriously, he chose instead to call this secondchance "a joke," with devastating results for our victim.

"Apparently to prove his point that his prior diversion was a 'Joke," defendant had posted on his MySpace page before the crash photos of him drinking, including one of him drinking beer while at the wheel of a car. The page was taken down quickly after his arrest, but the victim's family downloaded the photos before the page was removed. These photos clearly prove defendant's view that drinking and driving itself is 'a joke.' These photos are available should you care to see them."

Mr. Jordan continues "I believe the community would be well served if Measure 11 could be reformed to give first-time felons like me an opportunity to participate in a rehab program such as AIP, which provides focused drug and alcohol treatment, while suspending up to two years of a remaining prison sentence. In addition, 20% – 30% in good time/work time would also be motivating toward successful rehabilitation into the community. Why not offer such incentives to allow offenders to prove if they are ready to be a part of society again? As it is now, there is nothing for Measure 11 offenders to do here and nothing to prove, which leaves the door open to gang lifestyle and other criminal behavior.

"My opinion is that Measure 11 should be reserved for violent repeat offenders. First-time offenders should have the opportunity to turn their lives around. Current Measure 11 inmates should receive psychological assessment and review of their crime to determine eligibility of any time-reducing programs.

"I support your efforts in Measure 11/mandatory sentence reform. To see the real face of a Measure 11 offender and the impact this had on my family, please visit our blog at 70months.wordpress.com, where this letter will be shared with a readership that supports Measure 11 reform."

Inherent in Mr. Jordan's letter is the idea that Mr. Jordan is the victim, that Mr. Jordan is not really responsible for his actions, that the alcohol was in control. The bicyclist was likewise a victim, barely mentioned, and only some thing for Mr. Jordan to take heroically take responsibility for after the fact, after he was sentenced, and during his campaign to reduce his time in jail.

Mr. Jordan's new found sense of responsibility is a bit hard to take. Where was the responsibility following his other DUI? Where was the responsibility during his "joke" rehabilitation? Where was his responsibility as he drove home with his head stuck out the window, looking past the shattered glass and pieces of the man he had just run down? Where was this sense of responsibility in Mr. Jordan following the accident? Was it there as he locked his car in his garage? Was it there as he spent several hours not reporting the accident, undoubtedly hoping that the police would never come?

Ah yes... With this sterling example, surely Measure 11 should be reformed. The tragedy of Mr. Jordan's incarceration is just too much to bear.

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