ROGUE OF THE WEEK
What do you think chances are that Damien Deshawn Douglas will be offered bail this time? After skipping his trial for robbery last November, Douglas was arrested mid-February and charged with the murder of 26-year-old Lake Oswegoan Joshua Toomey, a reputed drug dealer. Question is, what was Douglas doing on the street in the first place? Ask our Rogue of the Week, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Ellen Rosenblum, who set a bail for Douglas that police say was far too low.
Make no mistake, Rosenblum feels bad now about her decision, which was to set bail at $200, 000 for the accused tavern robber, rather than at the hefty $5 million prosecutors wanted. "When I heard he was arrested [for murder], obviously I was deeply concerned," Rosenblum told Stuart Tomlinson of the Oregonian. Giving a Nurembergian justification, Rosenblum continued, "No judge wants to be in that situation. I'm sure you can imagine how I feel... but I followed the process."
The big news, though, is that Rosenblum is the wife of Willamette Week publisher Richard H. Meeker and half of a self-appointed "most influential" couple in WW''s Valentine's Day issue! Don't get us wrong, we applaud Rosenblum for bringing a WW-style "alternative" liberality to the bench and lowering the bail for a troubled young man. But what are chances Rosenblum will find herself nominated for a Rogue of the Week in that paper's column? No matter: we've bailed them out of its dilemma and nominated her ourselves. IAN THOMPSON
EQUALITY IN JAIL?
In what was a small gesture towards racial equality, about fifty people showed up last Thursday evening for the first meeting of the Racial Over-Representation in the Criminal Justice System Task Force. Established to determine why a disproportionate number of minorities are ending up in the Multnomah County prison system; the 26 member group will meet over the course of the next year.
The group includes Police Chief Kroeker and County Commissioner Serena Cruz. The public gave mixed responses to the Task Force's mission. "Unless you increase opportunity, we will see this as a sham," said James Posey, a concerned citizen. "If you've got enough money to afford a good lawyer, you are going to get out of the system. Black people don't have money." KATIA DUNN