District Attorney Mike Schmidt Faces Bar Complaint as Election Nears

At issue: Schmidt’s handling of clemency applications for two people convicted of aggravated murder.

District Attorney Mike Schmidt. (Mick Hangland-Skill)

Chuck French, a retired longtime Multnomah County prosecutor, filed a bar complaint April 3 against District Attorney Mike Schmidt, who is running for reelection in May.

In his complaint, French alleges Schmidt violated Oregon State Bar rules that prohibit “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation” in his handling of clemency applications for two people convicted of aggravated murder in cases French prosecuted. In both clemency proceedings, French alleges, Schmidt “made egregious misrepresentations to the governor regarding the facts of the criminal cases and the subsequent behavior of the offenders while serving their sentences in prison.”

Based on the information Schmidt’s office provided, Gov. Kate Brown commuted the sentences of both inmates, Danielle Cox and Theron Hall. Cox became eligible for parole on an earlier date; Hall became eligible for the first time. Both remain in prison.

The Oregonian has reported aspects of both commutations, but French’s bar complaint has not been previously reported.

Schmidt campaign manager Andrew Rogers blames Schmidt’s opponent for the complaint.

“Nathan Vasquez, who can’t articulate a single meaningful platform point beyond ‘I don’t like my boss,’ continues to rely on his small group of friends to manufacture controversies in a desperate attempt to discredit Mike,” Rogers says. “Vasquez’s team is desperate because they know crime is coming down after a spike during the pandemic—and because nobody knows who Vasquez is, and once they do, they don’t like him. I’m sure we’ll see more theater like this in the next six weeks.”

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