It’s not every day that one of the state’s top law enforcement officials—Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote—sues the state for breaking its own laws.
But on Nov. 15, Foote and two crime victims, Deborah Mapes-Stice and Mary Elledge, filed a lawsuit in Clackamas County Circuit Court over House Bill 3078, legislation passed in 2017 that reduces penalties for certain property crimes defined by 2008’s Ballot Measure 57.
The suit alleges the new law runs afoul of Ballot Measure 10, passed by voters in 1994. That initiative requires any changes to voter-approved criminal-sentencing measures to pass by a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
The bill fell short of that number in both the House and Senate.
The lawsuit sets up a showdown between critics of Oregon’s criminal justice system and Foote, a staunch defender of that system.
The lawsuit seeks a ruling that HB 3078 is “invalid and unenforceable.”