Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Things You Should Know About Consent

April is a month to reach out to the public and educate the public about sexual violence. This is also known as the Sexual Assault Awareness Month or “SAAM.” This years theme is “I Ask” and is focused on asking to obtain consent before engaging in sexual activity. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center notes “The Campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday actions.”

Ross Law is doing our part to get out the word. As a law firm that represents sexual assault survivors, it is imperative to us to do what we can to prevent or deter sexual violence by holding people and entities responsible for their actions and failures. Here are some useful tips and resources:

Consent and Sex:

What is it: Someone giving permission for something to happen or to do something.

When to Ask for Consent Obtain consent before engaging in sexual conduct: Ask for consent before beginning in sexual activity. This includes kissing, cuddling and any kind of sex. Remember to continually ask for consent as the sexual contact increases or changes. This ensures you are not putting the other person in a situation where they are feeling pressured or you are taking advantage of them by escalating the situation.

How to Ask: Ensure that when you are communicating with the other person that you make it clear that it is perfectly fine if they say “no.” You do not want to be pressuring the person. If you are not clear if the other person has consented ask again in a different way.

Click Here for More Tips on obtaining consent prior to engaging in sexual activity.

Consent, Sex, and Digital Technology

Why is This Important: Technology has brought things that used to happen behind closed doors out into the open. People do things and say things through their phones or computers that they would never do or say to another person if they were in front of them. That is why it is important to understand there are boundaries that must be respected when communicating with another.

How often to text: You don’t want to be considered a creeper by the other person. Fifty texts a day for some people is great, while for others it is overwhelming. Talking about how often to text in general terms may help you understand your partner’s preferences. This may also help you understand how often they prefer to respond to texts. This conversation may save the anxiety from thinking “am I texting too much” or “why haven’t they responded yet?”

What to Text-Sexting: Obviously not everyone is comfortable with “sexting.” Sexting means sending sexual photos, videos, or messages. Sexting can be extremely disturbing to the recipients if the recipient hasn’t given the sender express consent to send them. Imagine being at work when someone sends a nude person of themselves. Some people would be embarrassed or horrified upon receipt of this photograph. Others, may be fine with it. This is why is is critical to obtain another’s consent before sexting with another.

Consent Violations: If someone sends a nude photo, DO NOT share it with others. It is a breach of their trust, but you may get sued or prosecuted if you do. Also, remember that it is a crime to store or share sexual photos of someone under 18, even if you are also under 18. Parents need to ensure their kids understand this.

Click Here for more information.

Consent and Intoxication:

Consent and an Intoxicated or Impaired Person This is an area where people should simply steer clear of. Engaging in sexual activity with a person that is intoxicated, mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless will put you at risk or being arrested and prosecuted and being sued in civil court for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. You do not want to be the person claiming that you thought the other person was sober enough to consent, so you thought it was OK. This is a time when simply asking for consent is not enough, because the other person doesn’t have the mental capacity to give consent.

Talk to Your Kids About Consent:

Credit: Rainn.org

Credit: Rainn.org

This is also a good month to discuss consent with your children. The Rainn Group has some good tips regarding “safe dating” for teens, college students, and kids. The idea is to get kids comfortable with the idea that they are in charge of their own body, and that they have the power to say no, even, if they change their mind. Click here for more tips.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence please contact Oregon crime victim lawyer Jeremiah Ross and Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation at 503.224.1658. Here at Ross Law we have represented people that have been sexually assaulted and abused in various cases throughout Oregon. Please call us to discuss your rights and your options. Please also remember to not solely rely on this post for guidance or information regarding obtaining consent and sexual violence.

5 Things Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors Should Know About Their Remedies

Yesterday, a Kentucky Jury awarded U.S. Senator Rand Paul $580,000.00 in damages that were a result of injuries and mental anguish he suffered when a neighbor tackled the senator. The neighbor was angry at Rand Paul and attacked him. The neighbor’s attack broke six of Rand Paul’s ribs and bruised his lungs lungs. Prior to Rand Paul’s Civil Suit, the attacking neighbor was prosecuted in Criminal Court and entered a plea of guilty. After the attacker had entered a plea of guilty Senator Paul pursued his civil remedies against the attacker, and the Jury sided with Paul in awarding him damages for medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, suffering, and damages to punish the defendant. This case is unusual due to the fact that the victim was a U.S. Senator, but the facts are not unusual. Here in Oregon, Ross Law PDX has represented survivors and victims in Civil Cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence, violent attacks that occurred at school, assaults by neighbors, assaults by police officers, and assaults at bars. In most of these cases the survivors of abuse were unaware of the power of the civil justice system and what they could achieve. Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors should know the following:

matthias-kinsella-583662-unsplash.jpg

1) The District Attorney is Not Solely The Victim’s Lawyer: The district attorney prosecutes the suspect criminally. Essentially, it is the district attorney’s job to ensure the suspect is held accountable in criminal court and is punished by either being sent to prison, jail, or put on probation. The district attorney represents all Oregonians, and not just the victim. As a result, the focus of the district attorney may not always be in line with the victim’s wishes.   

2) The Victim Can Have an Attorney Represent them in the Criminal Case and Civil Case: An attorney acting on the victim’s behalf is only representing the victim. In the Criminal Case the victim’s attorney can ensure that the victim’s rights are honored, even if that means disagreeing with the District Attorney’s position. In the civil case the victim’s attorney can pursue claims for monetary damages and other remedies. The main difference is that a civil attorney can file a lawsuit against not only the criminal suspect but other corporations or organizations that may be responsible for the suspect. For example, if a security guard rapes a person while on duty. The district attorney would prosecute the security guard and would have a difficult time prosecuting the security guard’s employer. However, a civil attorney may hold the security guard and the guard’s employer accountable. Additionally, civil attorneys seek compensation for the victim and are unable to send a person to jail or prison for what they have done.

3) Victim’s Can Typically Only Recover Out of Pocket Losses Through the Criminal Case: In Oregon, criminal restitution is typically limited to only economic losses that the defendant caused as a result of his criminal conduct. What this means is that in most cases the Criminal Court cannot order a criminal defendant to pay for damages for mental anguish, fear, anxiety, frustration, sleeplessness, embarrassment, pain, suffering, or other non-economic losses. In order to collect those damages the Victim or Survivor must file a Civil Case. The Rand Paul case is illustrative of why this is such a powerful remedy. In the Paul case, the Jury awarded $7,834.82 in economic losses and $200,000 for pain and suffering. If Paul did not exercise his right to pursue the case in Civil Court he may have been limited to only collecting $7,834.82 from the criminal defendant.

4) In a Civil Case Crime Victims and Survivors Can be Awarded Punitive Damages: Oregon Law permits persons that are victims of certain crimes to be awarded punitive damages in Civil Cases. In many cases, Oregon Law allows person to collect money from people that recklessly endanger and injure a person. ORS 31.730   These damages are awarded to the injured person to punish the offender, and can make a significant difference in the amount of money the crime victim or survivor receives. For instance, the Jury awarded Senator Rand Paul $375,000 in punitive damages. These damages were to punish the attacking neighbor for assaulting Rand Paul. There is not a fixed amount for punitive damages, and the additional amount will vary depending on the injuries, the reckless conduct, and the “record as a whole.” ORS 31.730   

5) A Crime Victim or Survivor Can Use a Pseudonym to Protect Their Identity in Civil Court: Most crime victims and survivors do not want their identity revealed in court filings. Most Courts will permit the victim or survivor to take steps to protect their identity by proceeding under a pseudonym. In these cases the court may permit the survivor to use a pseudonym of initials such as J.D.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a criminal defendant please contact Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your options and remedies. Ross Law PDX has successfully fought for Crime Victims throughout the State of Oregon. Ross Law PDX is also happy to provide a free case consultation to anyone that was intentionally injured by another. Please note that results vary and many settlements in Crime Victims cases, and not all cases can be pursued. Please do not solely rely on this post and contact a crime victim attorney to discuss your rights and options.

It should be noted Senator Paul’s case is unusual due to the fact that Senator Rand Paul supports “tort reform” to limit a person’s access to civil justice and put caps on amounts awarded by a jury. Hopefully, he will learn from this experience and reject any future attempts to limit the amount of damages that can be awarded by a Jury in a civil case.

Portland Uber Driver Assaults Female Passenger

As previously noted, I have grave concerns about ride-share drivers not being properly vetted by Uber or Lyft. Over the past few years numerous people throughout the United States have been assaulted or sexually assaulted by a ride-share driver. It was not a matter of if this was going to occur in Portland, but it was a matter of when. Unfortunately, it did happen last week. Last week an Uber driver climbed in the back seat of his vehicle and then began to kiss and thrust his body against the lone female passenger. Thankfully the passenger was able to fight off the driver and push him off of her. This terrifying encounter should not have happened.

This type of encounter can be prevented with proper background investigations, training, and supervision of drivers. However, the ride-share industry pushes back on these requirements. They claim to perform back-ground checks, but the nature and extent of them is not entirely known. As a result, litigation often will arise out of these incidents in an effort to hold the ride-share companies accountable in hopes that they will be forced to use a more robust system to protect riders.

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by a ride-share driver (Uber or Lyft) please call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Jeremiah Ross proudly represents crime victims and fights to hold all persons and entities accountable, and providing compensation to the victim.

Uber Fined for Allowing Felons and Disqualified Drivers to Drive Passengers

Uber has proven it is a convenient and reliable source of transportation.  However, safety has always been a concern.  Many Uber drivers are involved in traffic crashes because they are distracted by the passengers or their mobile device they rely on to drive for Uber.  Uber has also hired many drivers that have criminal histories that are a cause for concern. [Click here for the previous article] Last week Colorado fined Uber $8,900,000.00 for violating driver qualification laws.[Click here to read article].

The fines are a result of Uber hiring 57 drivers with criminal convictions that should have disqualified them from working.  Some of the questionable drivers had felony convictions that should have disqualified them.  Hiring drivers with felony convictions or other disqualifying theft related or assault convictions puts passengers at risk.  It also violated Colorado's laws, resulting in the fines.   

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Although the State of Oregon has yet to audit Uber.  Uber drivers have done some terrifying things here  here in Oregon.  There are instances of Uber drivers being involved in road rage, stalking, and assault in Oregon.  Allowing a convicted felon to act as an Uber driver may increase the likelihood that driver will be involved in illegal activity.  If a driver is involved in unlawful activity Uber should be held accountable for all of the victim's losses.

If you, or someone you know, are involved in an incident with an Uber or other rideshare driver please call Portland Oregon Attorney, Jeremiah Ross for your free case evaluation.  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to discuss how the Uber driver and Uber can be held accountable.  Please remember this post is for advertising purposes.   Also, this post does not create an attorney client relationship.

How Do You Figure Out if Your Child's Day-Care or Pre-School is Safe?

Getting your kids in Daycare can be an overwhelming en-devour.  Site visits, phone calls, interviews, and the always popular, "wait lists" are all new experiences for almost every new parent.  During this process every parent is concerned with one thing, Safety.  However, it is not always easy to determine if a place is safe for your kids.  Daycare providers are like other businesses in that they put their best foot forward in an effort to get your child enrolled and the tuition money.   So how do you determine if your kid's daycare or preschool is safe? Here are some tips:

  • Is the Daycare or Preschool Licensed by the State?  You should determine if the provider is licensed by the State of Oregon.   If not, that is a big red flag, and the provider maybe breaking the law by operating a unlicensed daycare.  Calling Office of Child Care - Central Office
    503-947-1400, 1-800-556-6616 may help you determine if the daycare or childcare provider is licensed.  In the alternative, you can simply ask the provider to see the license. 
  • Does the Daycare or Preschool have prior complaints?    The State of Oregon has an office that is dedicated to licensing and overseeing daycare facilities.  This office keeps a data-base that allows the public to search for violations committed by Oregon preschools, daycare, and licensed child care providers.   The data base is not too user friendly, and doesn't provide details regarding the complaints but it provides the rules or laws that were violated and the date of the violations.   Click here to learn if the State of Oregon has a public record of a complaint against a childcare provider, daycare, or preschool.  Another place to look for prior complaints is the Better Business Bureau.  Click here for a link to the Better Business Bureau. 
  • What should you Look For When Visiting a Prospective DayCare or Preschool?  If you are a new parent it is overwhelming trying to figure out all of the potential dangerous surrounding your child.   However, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has authored checklists to assist parents in determining if their child's daycare is safe..  
    • If you are looking to determine if your INFANT's childcare provider is safe Click Here.
    • If you are looking to determine if your TODDLER's childcare provider is safe Click Here.
    • If you are looking to determine if your PRESCHOOLER's childcare provider is safe Click Here.

If your child, or someone you know, has been injured at a daycare or by a childcare provider call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Call Ross Law for your free case evaluation.  Ross Law takes most personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis.  LEGAL STUFF,  PLEASE READ:  Please note the tips above are not an exhaustive list and you must do your own due intelligence in trying to determine if a daycare provider is a good fit for your child. Also, Ross Law does not have a relationship or affiliation with the agencies or entities noted in this article.  Please contact them directly if you have any questions or concerns about their web-site(s) or, policies, or procedures. 

Flying the Un-Friendly Skies...Injuries on Commercial Flights

Let's face it, flying is not what it used to be.   Airlines are making record profits, but flying conditions seem to be getting worse.   The recent events on a United Flight highlight the fact that most Airlines put their Corporate priorities above the passengers comfort and safety. That incident was an anomaly, but every year countless passengers are injured aboard commercial airplanes.  Many injuries are minor, but some can be major.  Below is a list of the most common types of injuries:.   

Baggage Incidents: Many passenger injuries are caused by baggage.  Passengers often whack each other with bags as they are attempting to lift them and load them into the overhead bins.  Baggage also may fall out if the bin is not latched properly, malfunctions, or when people open the overhead bins after the flight.  These heavy bags can land on a person's head and cause severe neck and head injuries.  They may also cause bruising and swelling or torn muscles and ligaments on other areas of the body.

Turbulence or Rough Landings:   People can be injured by getting jostled around on planes as they are flying through unstable air or during a rough  landing.   This unstable air is called turbulence.   Neck and back injuries can result depending on the intensity and duration of the turbulence or rough landing.  The USA Today recently wrote an article articulating the various ways turbulence may injure passengers.  For example turbulence may cause the plane to shake so violently that overhead bins may open causing baggage to fall out, drinks may spill, and equipment may fall on passengers.  

 

Hot Liquid Spills: Hot Coffee and Hot Tea pose a danger to passengers.  A spill of hot coffee or tea on a person can cause serious burns, scarring, pain, and discomfort.  Many of these spills happen while the cup of hot liquid is being transferred from the flight attendant to the passenger. 

Assaults:  Assaults are becoming more common on commercial flights. "Air Rage" is becoming more common as more and more passengers are crammed into smaller and smaller spaces.   In 2015 there were almost 11,000 incidents of air rage. These assaults can range from pushing people to a passenger brutally attacking another passenger.  

Sexual Assaults: Sexual Assaults on Commercial flights are not something we usually think about.  However, they do occur. A recent article noted it is hard to determine the number of assaults because typically 75% of sexual assaults go unreported. Usually they involve a drunk individual that gropes and touches another without their permission.  Sometimes these sexual assaults involve incidents of adult passengers groping a minor.   

Is The Airline Responsible for Your Injuries?  If you were injured on a commercial flight the airline may be responsible for your injuries.  This obviously depends on the facts. However, people on international commercial flights enjoy certain protections provided by treaties and Federal Law.   This may entitle a person injured on a plane to compensation even if the airline did little or anything to cause the injury.  These types of incidents usually require a lawyer to get involved, because Airlines often do not take these claims seriously.

What to Do if You Are Injured on a Commercial Air Flight?

  1. Obviously if you are injured you need to seek medical treatment first and foremost.
  2. Ensure you keep all documents from the flights.   Try and keep your boarding pass, even though most of them are available on-line even after the flight has concluded.  
  3. Do your best to get the passengers full names, addresses, and phone numbers that are in the seats surrounding yours.  Finding witnesses can be difficult if you don't have the witnesses contact information.  
  4. Take Photos:  If possible take photos of the area where the injury occurred.  A video is even better. 
  5. Alert a Flight Attendant and Ask to Make an Incident report:  Alert a flight attendant to the injury and tell them to talk to a witness to find out what happened.  Get the flight attendant's name.
  6. If a crime has been committed contact law enforcement once you are able to do so.  Ensure the Flight Attendant contacts law enforcement.
  7. Call a lawyer at 503.224.1658 if you have further questions.

If you or someone you know has been injured on an airplane call Ross Law LLC.  Jeremiah Ross is happy to provide you a free case evaluation.  Call 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Please remember the law is always changing.  Do not rely on this post and rely on the law and advice from a lawyer.   This blog can be considered attorney advertising and is for advertising purposes only. 

Victim of a Crime? Know Your Rights...

The Criminal Justice system can be a confusing, intimidating, and scary place for crime victims. Many victims do not know what is expected from them, who the lawyers are that are involved, and more importantly they don't know their rights.  Many times the District Attorney's office does their best to keep victims involved in the case, but DA's and victim advocates are often overworked and simply do not have the time or resources to ensure every victim's rights are understood and honored. This post is meant to provide you some information to assist you in asserting your rights.   Below is a list of things you should know if you were a crime victim:

Who Is The District Attorney:  The District Attorney is an attorney that represents the State of Oregon in criminal matters.  They are also called prosecutors, DAs, or DDAs.  Basically each county has a District Attorney (DA).  That person has an office that employs deputy DA's to hold people responsible that have been accused of breaking the law.  

Is the DA the Victim's Attorney:  No, the DA represents the State of Oregon.  The victim is a citizen of the State and has unique rights under the law, but the DA is not the victim's lawyer.  If you believe you the defendant should be responsible for paying for your harms and losses you should seek a "civil lawyer" such as myself to represent you.  The criminal justice system and the Civil Justice System are not the same.  For example, the District Attorney cannot obtain damages for emotional harm, but a civil lawyer can. For more information click here.

Who are "Victim Advocates:"   District Attorneys offices have persons that are victims and advocates that do their best to ensure victims rights are honored.  In Multnomah County the DA has a Victim Assistance Program or VAP.  To learn more click here.

What are Oregon Crime Victim's Rights:  Oregon Victims have numerous rights.  I have posted some, but not all, of the rights below.   Please remember the law is constantly changing and it is best to consult with an attorney or the District Attorney to ensure the law has not changed.  Do not rely solely on this post.  With that said, see the rights below:

  1. Crime Victims Must Be Informed of Their Rights:  A “law enforcement agency” shall notify a crime victim about his or her rights as soon as reasonably practicable. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(g); ORS 147.417(1). 
  2. If You Request, Then You Must Be Informed of All Critical Stages of the Proceedings: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be informed in advance of any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a) 
  3. The DA Must Account for Your Schedule when Setting a Trial Date: “When resetting any trial date or setting any court hearing requiring the presence of the victim, the court shall take the victim into consideration. The court shall inquire of the district attorney as to whether the victim has been informed of the prospective date and whether that date is convenient for the victim.” ORS 136.145
  4. If Requested, You Have a Right to Be informed if The Defendant's Probation May be Revoked: Right to Notice of Probation Violation/Revocation Hearings Upon request, a crime victim has the right “to be notified of any hearing before the court that may result in the revocation of the defendant’s probation for a felony or person Class A misdemeanor.” ORS 137.545(11). 
  5. You Have a Right to Be Present at Critical-Stage Proceedings if Requested: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be present at any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a).
  6. You Right to Have a Person with you (with some exceptions): The victim of a person crime who was at least 15 years old when the crime is committed, may select a personal representative to accompany the victim to phases of the investigation and prosecution of the crime except for grand jury proceedings and certain child-abuse assessments. ORS 147.425. 
  7. If English is Your Second Language You Have a Right to Court Appointed Interpreter “In any criminal proceeding, the court shall appoint a qualified interpreter and make available appropriate assistive communication devices whenever it is necessary to interpret the proceedings to a victim who is a person with a disability and who seeks to exercise in open court a right that is granted by Article I, section 42 or 43, of the Oregon Constitution, including the right to be present at a critical stage of the proceeding.” 
  8. You Have a Right to Be Heard at a Pretrial Release Hearings if Requested: Under the Oregon Constitution a crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to “be heard at the pretrial release hearing.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). 
  9. You Have a Right to Be Heard at Sentencing A crime victim has the constitutional right to be heard “at the sentencing or juvenile court delinquency disposition.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). Under statute, a crime victim has the right at sentencing “to reasonably
    express any views concerning the crime, the person responsible, the impact of the
    crime on the victim, and the need for restitution and compensatory fine.” ORS
    137.013. A trial court must inquire whether the victim wishes to be heard before
    imposing sentence. ORS 147.512(3). 
  10. You Have a Right to Be Heard at DUII Diversion Hearing: If a DUII offense involves damage to property of a person other than the defendant, the victim of the property damage has a right to be present and to be heard at any hearing on a petition for a diversion agreement. ORS 813.222(1). 
  11. You Have a Right to Consult with the DA in any Plea Negotiation involving a Violent Felony: A crime victim has the constitutional right “to be consulted, upon request, regarding plea negotiations involving any violent felony.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(f). In prosecutions involving violent felonies, a prosecutor must—if requested by the victim—make “reasonable efforts to consult the victim before making a plea offer and before entering into a final plea agreement.” ORS 147.512(2)(a).
  12. You Have a Right to a Speedy Disposition: By law, crime victims have the rights to “have the trial or adjudication, including the imposition and execution of the sentence or disposition, conducted with all practicable speed” and “to the prompt and final conclusion of the criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in any related appellate or post-judgment proceeding.” ORS 147.430(a)-(b); see also ORS 138.627(1)(a) (victims have the right to have their “schedule taken into account [by the trial court] in scheduling . . . post-conviction proceedings”).  T
  13. You Have a Right to Records of Proceedings: A crime victim has a statutory and constitutional right to a copy of the record of a criminal proceeding. See Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(e) (a crime victim has “[t]he right to have a copy of a transcript of any court proceeding in open court, if one is otherwise prepared”); ORS 147.419 (a crime victim may obtain a copy of a transcript or audio or videotape of criminal proceeding held in open court at the victim’s expense).
  14. You Have a Right to Information about the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right, upon request, to obtain information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, criminal history and future release from physical custody of the criminal defendant or convicted criminal and equivalent information regarding the alleged youth offender or youth offender[.]” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(b).
  15. You Have Right to Information about HIV or Other Communicable Diseases: A victim of a crime involving “the transmission of bodily fluids from one person to another” can request that defendant submit to “a test for HIV and any other communicable disease.” ORS 135.139(1).
  16. You Have a Right to Information about Emergency Contraception: A sexual assault victim has the right to “unbiased, medically and factually accurate written and oral information about emergency contraception” from the hospital providing the victim care. ORS 435.254(1). 
  17. Right to Information in DUII Proceedings Where You Were in a Crash with a DUII Driver:  In any prosecution arising from an automobile collision in which the defendant is alleged to have been DUII, the prosecuting attorney shall make available to a victim, upon request, reports and information disclosed to the defendant. ORS 135.857. That requirement applies to juvenile proceedings. ORS 419C.270 
  18. You Have a Right to Refuse to Speak or Communicate with Anyone Representing the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, crime victims have “[t]he right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request by the criminal defendant or other person acting on behalf of the criminal defendant provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall restrict any other constitutional right of the defendant to discovery against the state.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(c). Under statute, crime victims “may not be required to be interviewed or deposed by or give discovery to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney unless the victim consents.” ORS 135.970(3). A defense attorney must inform victims of the identity and capacity of persons contacting the victim on behalf of the defense and the victim’s right to have “a district attorney, assistant attorney general or other attorney or advocate present during any interview or other contact,” ORS 135.970(2). 
  19. If You Were Raped, You Have the Legal Protection to Prevent the Defense From Asking about Your Reputation or Opinion of Past Sexual Behavior. This is called the Rape-Shield Law. In a prosecution for rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, or sexual abuse, or in a prosecution for an attempt to commit one of these crimes, the following evidence is not admissible: Reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim; or reputation or opinion evidence presented for the purpose of showing that the manner of dress of an alleged victim incited the crime or indicated consent. In a prosecution for these crimes or attempt to commit one of these crimes, evidence of a victim’s past sexual behavior other than reputation or opinion evidence is also inadmissible unless admitted in accordance with the Oregon Evidence Code and is evidence that relates to the motive or bias of the alleged victim, is necessary to rebut or explain scientific, medical or testimonial evidence offered by the state, is necessary to establish the identity of the victim or is otherwise constitutionally required to be admitted. ORS 40.210. Oregon Evidence Code (OEC) Rule 412
  20. You Have a Right to Be Safe and Protected from the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant or the convicted criminal throughout the criminal justice process” and “[t]he right to have decisions by the court regarding the pretrial release of a criminal defendant based upon the principle of reasonable protection of the victim and the public, as well as the likelihood that the criminal defendant will appear for trial.” Or. Const. art I, § 43(1). 
  21. The Court Must Order No Contact with the Victim at Pre-Trial Release Hearing: When a defendant is released pretrial, the trial court or releasing authority must include a condition that defendant have no contact with the victim. See ORS 135.970 (4)(a) 
  22. You Have a Right to Restitution (Money), but it is limited to out of pocket expenses: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to receive prompt restitution from the criminal convicted criminal who caused the victim’s loss or injury.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(d). Upon proof of “nature and amount of damages,” a victim is entitled to full restitution for “economic damages” caused by a defendant’s criminal conduct unless the victim consents to a lesser amount. ORS 137.106(1). Economic damages are: objectively verifiable monetary losses including but not limited to reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services and other health care services, burial and memorial expenses, loss of income and past * * * impairment of earning capacity, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for substitute domestic services, recurring loss to an estate, damage to reputation that is economically verifiable, reasonable and necessarily incurred costs due to loss of use of property and reasonable costs incurred for repair or for replacement of damaged property, whichever is less. ORS 137.103(2); ORS 31.710(2)(a). 
  23. You May Have a Right to a Compensatory Fine:  A court may order compensatory fines payable to a crime victim, which may be imposed in addition to statutory restitution, “as a penalty for the commission of a crime resulting in an injury for which the person injured by the act constituting the crime has a remedy by civil action[.]” ORS 137.101. This is a convoluted area of the law in which the statute arguably allows the judge to impose a fine and instead of the fine being paid to the State of Oregon the fine is paid directly to the Victim.  Their are nuances regarding how this is done, and a District Attorney or Civil Lawyer such as myself should be contacted.  Feel free to call me at 503.224.1658.
  24. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund May Pay for Medical Bills, Counseling, but it is limited: A crime victim may be eligible for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Account administered by the Department of Justice. See ORS 147.035 (discussing compensable losses). An emergency award granted “pending a final decision in [a compensation] claim” may be available. ORS 147.055. Oregon law specifically provides for compensation for HIV testing and counseling when a crime involves the transmission of bodily fluids, ORS 135.139(8), and for a sexual-assault medical assessment. ORS 147.395. 

The bottom line is if you are a crime victim you have rights.  You should assert them.  Too often defendant's rights appear to trump victim's rights.   That should not occur if you assert your rights and the District Attorney and the Court honors your rights.  If you have any questions about your rights, call me for a free crime victim consultation at 503.224.1658.   PLEASE REMEMBER THE LAW IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND THESE RIGHTS ALSO CHANGE.   Please consult with a lawyer or District Attorney to learn your actual rights.   This post, this blog, and this web-site may be considered attorney advertising.  

 

UBER SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE MOVES FORWARD

Many people like myself use Uber and Lyft to get home from a Holiday party or a night on the town.   However, Uber and Lyft passengers should remain vigilant.  Especially women traveling by themselves.  Another incident of a Uber driver sexually assaulting a passenger is in the news.  

In this recent case a Houston, Texas Uber driver picked up a woman who ended up falling asleep in the Uber driver's vehicle.  The  Uber driver then parked his car in a parking lot.  The woman awoke to the terrifying experience of the Uber driver fondling her as she was asleep.  The case is ongoing, so the details are scant.  The driver is contesting the allegations in court.  

Ride share programs are a great idea, but people must remain vigilant.  If you want some tips on protecting yourself when riding with Uber or Lyft then click HERE.   If you, or someone you know, have been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by an Uber or Lyft driver, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free consultation.