U.S. Attorney for Oregon Defends Cannabis Prosecution of Teenager
Facing intense criticism for prosecuting a Native American teenager for allegedly possessing a gram of cannabis, U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting on Aug. 15 to defend his office's decisions. Williams' office agreed two weeks ago to drop the charges against 19-year-old Devontre Thomas, who faced a year in prison for allegedly trying to buy a gram of weed at Chemawa Indian School in Salem. Williams told OPB's Think Out Loud his office was aware of how unjust the case might appear—and claimed he never intended to convict Thomas. "I have a lawyer who was doing her best at assessing what would be appropriate and how do we put Mr. Thomas in the best position to successfully avoid a prosecution," he told OPB.
PPS Finds a Substitute Superintendent
It's been nearly a month since former Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith resigned in the wake of revelations of elevated lead levels in school drinking water. At press deadline, the School Board was poised to appoint her temporary replacement: a retired superintendent from a small neighboring school district. Bob McKean led the East Portland school district of Centennial for seven years before retiring in 2010.
Judge Tells Pirate Hunter to Abandon Ship
A federal judge has pressed the "pause" button on an Oregon lawyer who aggressively chases down movie pirates. Last year, WW profiled Carl Crowell, a Salem lawyer who helps small to midsize mainstream movie studios sue people who illegally download their films online. On Aug. 10, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman ruled that a man who pirated the Adrien Brody thriller American Heist owed $791 to the movie studio that produced it. But she denied Crowell another $4,833 in attorney fees, saying that awarding such a large judgment on top of small damages "would only contribute to the continued overaggressive assertion and negotiation of these Copyright Act claims." Crowell is not discouraged. "The enforcement activity will continue," he says.
Priest Takes Flak After Winning AR-15
The Lake Oswego priest who won an AR-15 rifle raffled by a girl's softball team says he received threats after pledging to turn the gun into an art installation. The Rev. Jeremy Lucas told the Los Angeles Times this week that he's "come to learn a lot about the nature of social media" after winning the gun. Lucas remains under investigation by Oregon State Police after the head of gun-rights group Oregon Firearms Federation reported him for illegally transferring the gun. Lucas says he welcomes the attention. "I mean, it took me less than half an hour to pass that background check and walk out with a semi-automatic rifle," Lucas told the Times. "We really should be talking about that."