Mass Incarceration

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt plans to run for second term

Multnomah County District Lawyer Mike Schmidt stated he plans to run for a second time period.

“We’ve performed plenty of nice issues,” Schmidt stated. “However we’re simply constructing and I intend to see that via one other time period.”

He stated he would make a proper announcement later this 12 months.

Schmidt gained election in Might 2020 with roughly 75% of the vote on a platform of ending mass incarceration and holding legislation enforcement accountable. On the time, he was half of a bigger wave of like-minded prosecutors who laid out a imaginative and prescient formed by their experiences as public defenders. Whereas Schmidt hasn’t been a public defender, he was elected from outdoors the workplace to result in change.

“Once I set out on this path a number of years in the past — looks like one million years in the past, pre-pandemic, pre-George Floyd’s homicide, pre plenty of issues — we talked about ending mass incarceration,” Schmidt stated in an interview. “We talked about racial disparity within the prison justice system. We talked about getting on the underlying causes that result in criminality. We’re making progress.”

Schmidt stated he stays centered on these ideas.

District Attorney Mike Schmidt speaking at a podium while a small crowd of political leaders stand behind him.

Multnomah County District Lawyer Mike Schmidt talking at a press convention on the Multnomah County Courthouse in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 14, 2022.

April Ehrlich / OPB

Information that Schmidt plans to hunt a second time period was first reported by Willamette Week.

From his first days in workplace, Schmidt has confronted criticism from police and different elected district attorneys in Oregon. For the second 12 months in a row final 12 months, Portland logged a record-high variety of homicides. The rise in shootings occurred because the pandemic dramatically diminished the variety of jury trials and a year-long public protection disaster has led to judges regularly dismissing cases.

“There have definitely been plenty of headwinds that possibly I didn’t anticipate in 2019, and it’s made the job difficult,” Schmidt stated. “There’s little question about it. However we’re nonetheless making good progress.”

He has additionally made latest efforts to reset a typically rocky relationship between his workplace and the police. At a news conference last month, Schmidt appeared with legislation enforcement leaders, together with the top of the Portland Police Affiliation, which represents rank-and-file officers.

“Lots of the political narrative is you must have one or the opposite: You possibly can solely have reform or you may have security, and you need to select,” Schmidt stated final month. “All people right here behind me at the moment is dedicated to the concept that no, these two issues are intricately linked.”

Over the past two years, Schmidt stated he’s launched applications aimed toward addressing systemic inequality: the justice integrity unit, a brand new restorative justice program and a diversion courtroom for obligatory minimal sentences, which have disproportionately affected defendants of color.

“These issues are simply getting off the bottom,” Schmidt stated. “They want time. They want effort and intention.”

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