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Author Archives: Mark C. Cogan, P.C.

Legislation To Reform Oregon’s Harsh Sentencing Law is Finally Gaining Traction in Salem

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

Ever since Oregon voters enacted Ballot Measure 11 in 1994, thousands of defendants, many with no criminal history, have been sentenced to mandatory minimum prison sentences under a regime whereby the judges have little or no power to issue punishments that are not approved by the prosecutor. This relic of the era of mass… Read More »

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Oregon Legislators Are Taking a Closer Look at a Law That Allows Police to Declare Unlawful Assemblies

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

In Oregon, a law currently on the books that allows police officers to declare unlawful assemblies is now being examined by our legislators. During the many protests of last year, police officers have had authority to disband assemblies which they deem unlawful. Concern has arisen that this practice violates the Constitutional right of protesters… Read More »

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Oregon Legislature is Considering Bills to Increase Police Accountability

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

Responding to widespread concern about the need to hold police accountable, two House Bills have been introduced by Legislators that could potentially save lives, provide justice to deceased victims, and lay the foundation for improved policing. House Bill 3145 responds to recommendations regarding provision of public defense services, and requires Oregon’s Department of Public… Read More »

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It is Important to Recognize Unsung Heroes in the Progress Toward Racial Justice

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

As Black activism continues to spread across the United States, and as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain traction, it is important to remember the heroes who fought for the liberty of those treated differently due to the color of their skin. Beatrice Morrow Cannady, a Black activist who made herself known… Read More »

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A tribute to Belva Lockwood

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

Guest blog by: Janay Haas PARTING THOUGHTS For Women’s History Month The pandemic can make you do strange things: wash windows, mend clothing that doesn’t even fit you any more, wear flannel Sesame Street pajama bottoms to the grocery store. In my case, it was organizing the junk drawer in my desk. There, among… Read More »

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Portland Schools are Being Renamed to Honor Black Leaders and Remove Vestiges of Racism

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

The Black Lives Matter movement has caused many communities to rename public buildings to reflect greater diversity, and remove vestiges of racism. Happily, we see signs of this in our own area. Responding to strong efforts of students, alumni, and educators, one Northeast Portland high school is finally being renamed What was previously known… Read More »

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Even After Gaining Their Freedom, People With Criminal Convictions Bear a Crushing Financial Burden

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, more and more prisoners reentering society after incarceration are struggling with criminal justice debt as states continue to increase rates of excessive fees, collection fines, and restitution. These charges are justified as “user fees” to fund the criminal justice system. However, due to increasing demand, low-income Americans… Read More »

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Unjust Provision in Oregon’s State Constitution for Nonunanimous Guilty Verdicts Finally Overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

The State of Oregon was the last state in the nation to allow nonunanimous jury verdicts in felony prosecutions. That meant all 12 jurors did not have to agree on the guilt of the accused and allowed nonunanimous criminal convictions when as many as two jurors believed the defendant was innocent. Since 1933, this antiquated provision… Read More »

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Science Has Provided Important Tools in Exonerating the Innocent

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

Science now occupies a role far more important within our legal system than it used to be. One of the common forms of scientific evidence utilized in criminal cases today is in the form of DNA testing. For several decades, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld have been leaders within our profession in promoting the… Read More »

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Should Police Be Allowed to Lie to Suspects in Order to Get Them to Confess?

By Mark C. Cogan, P.C. |

When a suspect lies to the police, prosecutors often exploit that fact in urging that the person is guilty. On the other hand, police are allowed to lie to suspects without consequence. Is that fair? Many are troubled that police are allowed, even encouraged, to lie to suspects. We tried a case, a dozen… Read More »

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