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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 21, 2007 10:31 AM. The previous post in this blog was Game report: Blazers 100, Wizards 98. The next post in this blog is Media death watch, Portland edition. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New felony defense in Multnomah County: "He was depressed"

Here's a good one. If you're a parole officer, and you steal pot out of evidence and smoke it in front of your colleagues at a party, that's not a crime that Multnomah County is going to prosecute you for.

It seems that if you're a law enforcement officer, being "very depressed" because you have some stage of Parkinson's disease is a valid defense for that kind of conduct. Being "very depressed" apparently includes your state of mind at a Christmas party that you're throwing at your own house.

Chalk another one up for Mike Schrunk. "We got him to resign -- that's good enough." Sounds like this case. Or this one. Or this one.

The guy makes a lot of deals. Maybe after 26 years, it would be healthy to have a fresh face making the deals.

Comments (17)

Oh, and he will get his PERS pension. Not to mention unemployment!

while I certainly sympathize with the unfortunate
nature of the man's illness and recognize that at
the root of it all is the unending controversy in
absurdity of the criminal status of marijuana in an
age of enlightenment for so many of us.

Having said that, anyone who's followed Mike Schrunk's
"legal career" as our District Attorney clearly sees him
as a MIKE SKANK when it comes to his so-called "lawyerly
skills" in that he has helped facilitate the gaming of the
system so that well-known killer-cops like Nice, Humphreys,
McCollister, Besner, Sery, et al simply skate their own darn
skanky butts past the jail without even a look inside.

This FACT alone demolishes any illusions he may harbor
that he is a "pillar of this community"! Hardly is growing
assessment of more and more out here.

As for the only positive thing to say about him is this...
he's old and worn out and one hopes he is soon to RETIRE,
then we can be damned and done with him and his so-called
sense of "justice" hoping the next one has a firmer gripe on
the concept!

Have a good day!

"where one of Afzal's coworkers recognized the container holding the weed as one seized from an offender"

Love the slang. Sort of revealing!

The apples don't fall very far from the tree.

Specifically on this case, I can't get worked up about Schrunk's decision. This guy has no criminal history and is well-respected by his colleagues. He gets a fatal diagnosis of Parkinsons (a disease that can also have a neurological impact) and he does something totally out of character. He voluntarily reports what he did to his boss, and he loses his job.

Personally, I want prosecutors to use discretion in cases like this. Past good deeds should matter, and the criminal justice system shouldn't punish people harshly for one mistake.

It has become clear over the years, and in the wake of abuse cases cited by Jack (and others uncited), that the Multnomah Co. DA has little interest in engaging in meaningful oversight of law enforcement in Portland. Indictments that would be routine against a private citizen become “impossible” to procure from a grand jury when the subject of investigation is an officer. Charges are minimized with an acceptable solution being a reprimand or other such administrative remedy. None of us can be so delusional as to believe that a “reprimand” would be acceptable if any other Portland resident were the subject of investigation.

I blame the Mayor and Commissioners for this too, for their constant unwillingness to demand results from the DA. I think it is time that internal investigation be removed from the DA’s purview. We should consider a permanent independent special counsel, with the inherent ability to convene a grand jury, and a permanent small staff of investigators to oversee law enforcement at all levels in the city. This position would not report to the DA, the Mayor, or the City Commission, but rather to a revived and recreated Citizens Police Accountability committee. Just a thought….

While other cases may indeed need more investigation, I agree with Miles (above) that the DA needs the ability to take specific circumstances into account.

Parkinson's is a fatal disease that often causes mental aberrations as well as the physical problems -- and this person has it at an unusually young age. The fact that he did something completely out of character but then turned himself in and voluntarily resigned has to be (and was) considered.

He voluntarily reports what he did to his boss...

How convenient a description. His co-workers (at least one of them) were going to turn him in anyway.

One, he stole the weed and two, he smoked it in front of witnesses. Here's a scarier, but plausible, explanation: He was so sure that his buddies at the party were cool with both acts, that he felt no compunction about firing up the stolen dope.

He miscalculated, got busted, and here we are. On the hook for PERS (probably) and unemployment (possibly).

I guess I missed the part about being held to higher standards and all that twaddle.

Book 'im, Dano!

I have two close friends with Parkinsons. One diagnosed in his late 40's and one in mid 50's. Plus I have had several clients with Parkinson. I believe everyone of them would object to the biased treatment being received by Afzal. Many of us have health impairments but seek no special treatment. If Afzal could hardly walk as reported, then how could he perform his security job? Why hadn't he quite, or been fired, or reassigned. Most of us would make arrangements to change our lives to fit our abilities. Why PERS and unemployment and all the other benefits? Plus, he committed an alleged crime that should be prosecuted.

Just reading about Portland's DA non-action concerning Afzal makes me depressed. Now, do I get PERS and my unemployment check--oh, severance package and past sick leave time too? Then the "Oh" will probably write up a sob-story and start a fund for me; then I can write up a heartbreaking book.

The guy stole evidence and smoked it. I don't care how "nice a guy" he is. That's serious crap that deserves some criminal sanction. Even the first time you do it.

You want to strip this poor S.O.B. of his pension because went crazy and stole a little pinch of herb and smoked it in front of his co-workers? His pension is probably VESTED which means it can't be taken from him EVER no matter what he does...so forget about it. Maybe he should have gotten prosecuted and given what...probation? O.K. let's visualize him out there with his walker and the orange safety vest doing his 100 hours of community service picking up garbage along side the freeway.

So let's say you get horribly terminally ill and become severely depressed to the point you can't think straight and you do something really F-ing stupid? It's not like he's Bernie G. or Derek F. who are guys who are supposedly sane and should have know better and get paid big bucks to know better. This is some piss ant who makes something like 40K a year. Have a little heart and stop kicking a guy while he's already in the gutter gasping and wheezing.

you get horribly terminally ill and become severely depressed to the point you can't think straight and you do something really F-ing stupid

If it's criminal, you're charged. Look, I know people with Parkinson's. It is NOT an excuse for this kind of crap. And if a non-boy-in-blue did it, they'd be charged.

He can have his pension, but for him to collect unemployment is as crooked as his stealing the pot.

You're the ex-prosecutor, right? Uh huh. Circle those wagons. Big Mike -- pure as the driven snow. Can do no wrong.

"He was depressed". Fine. Smoking weed? not a big deal. But stealing evidence and lying about it? And getting away with it? Wow. Where's that evidence room? I want a piece of this action.

"He can have his pension, but for him to collect unemployment is as crooked as his stealing the pot"

I don't think it's certain he will get unemployment -- the state decides that, not the county. All the county said was that they wouldn't fight it. And the unemployment folks typically take a dim view of people who resign voluntarily (which is probably what the paperwork says) or who are fired -- versus those who are downsized or laid off.

"Have a little heart and stop kicking a guy while he's already in the gutter gasping and wheezing."

Like James Chasse?

Gee. When an 18-year-old kid became severely depressed to the point he couldn't think straight and did something really F-ing stupid, the cops shot him.

And when a guy walking in Portland was so mentally confused to the point he couldn't think straight and did something SORT OF F-ing stupid, the cops beat him to death.

And when a young man in Sandy became so injured he couldn't think straight - and did NOTHING really F-ing stupid - the cops shot him.

I'll save my compassion for those, thank you very much.

"I'll save my compassion for those, thank you very much."

Sounds like you're more into venting your rage at authority than expressing compassion.


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Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
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William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
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Road Work

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