Court Wrap Up, January 8, 2021


It’s been a long month since I last did one of these, and things have definitely been busy. Enough so that it’s been hard to parse everything that’s happened on a local basis. That said, let’s just dive right in.

Civil Cases

Starting at the top of our list of cases to watch are the protest related civil lawsuits against the city. The very first lawsuit filed in county court, Elias v. City of Portland has just gotten it’s affirmative defense filed in the case. Reading their ‘defense’ is honestly, a lesson in and of itself why the police need to be reigned in. The city is taking the position, once again, like in the Green case, that because the police had declared a riot, that they are immune to any and all lawsuits. In the Green case, back in November, their lawyer asserted that the statute the city is trying to hide behind was to hold the city immune to lawsuits for ‘the actions of non-state actors’, or civilians. In other words, a store owner can’t sue the city for a protester breaking their window. To suggest that police could be immune from any liability purely because they declare a riot makes it the smallest possible step from using any excuse to declare a riot, and then visit untold horrors on anyone they happen to come across. That argument has not been litigated in a court hearing yet, but I certainly expect to see it struck down quickly.

Several other cases (Lake and Montgomery) have the same language from the city in affirmative defense filings. Problem is, this argument is even weaker than before. Mr. Lake is a journalist, and was there as a member of the press. He frequently carries press gear like cameras with visible lenses, and makes the argument that he was a protester much weaker.

Several other cases (Michaels and Leggett cases) has had a similar amended complaint filed recently. I fully expect to see the city make the same claim that they’re immune to liability in the coming days.

Speaking of the case of the Green family, a protective order was filed at the end of the year to allow for discovery to start to proceed in the case. So, slow and steady progress is going there.

As we get near the end of the civil suits against the city, there is one that I will be covering separately in the coming days. The case is Campbell v. City of Portland, where the person filing, who claims to be a homeless gay veteran, initially started off demanding arrests of people protesting downtown and harassing homeless people. The tone and demands of future filings has shifted, and because the filings are all handwritten, they will take longer to process and understand.

Moving on from cases against the city, there is the lawsuit that Andy Ngo filed against Rose City Antifa and a number of others. I already did a deeper dive on that case in a YouTube stream that you can view here.

Moving on to one of last year’s busier civil cases, the stalking order that is being appealed by Dixie Bailey is in the early preparation process. A few days ago a transcriptionist was assigned to process the audio from the original hearing.

Criminal Cases

Moving on to criminal cases that are being watched, a few new criminal cases are being added to the list. One was reported earlier on Twitter when her pre-trial recognizance was revoked, Magen Stevens, accused of assault and use of mace in Salem. This was after a second chance at pre-trial release when she was allegedly documented at the Proud Boy DC assault pulling someone’s hair. At the time of writing, it does appear she’s turned herself in and is in county jail.

Looking to the case of retired Officer Groshong, I ended up having to do a whole article explaining how an apparently leak of sealed court records to the police union is now making it more difficult for the public to gain access to information about the events of his indictment.

And with that, we hit the end of our broadcast day. I’ll dig more into government transparency cases probably on Sunday (Saturday’s a day for me to roll those d20’s!) so stay tuned!

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