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Coos County DA Says Governor Ignores Victims Rights

District Attorney Paul Frasier says Governor Kate Brown has ignored the rights victims and families have under the Oregon Constitution. Those rights include being treated with due dignity and respect.  Frasier says the Governor issued a Commutation of Sentence order pertaining to persons who have served 15 or more years of their sentences the same day he received the list pertaining to a youth adjudicated in Coos County. The case involves Raymond Perkins who was 14 years old at the time he killed Doctor Judith Elman. Perkins beat her to death with a piece of driftwood on a beach near Bandon. She was also sexually assaulted. The case was moved to adult court following a multi-day hearing in which a resolution was reached that Perkins would serve a total of 30 years’ incarceration. Perkin’s plea agreement stated he would not be eligible for release until April 2032. Perkins has applied for Commutation in the past, and the case was reviewed by Governor Brown in 2015. Under the Governor’s most recent order, Perkins will now be able to apply to the parole board for early release.  Frasier says his office will appear at any parole hearing and will make an appropriate recommendation.
A second list was also issued which contained two other Coos County Cases of those who have served 50% of their sentence by the end of the year in 2022.  One of the cases involved Jerald Michael Brown who is currently serving a 100-month sentence for unlawful sexual penetration of a four-year-old girl. He is in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority and can remain there until his 25th birthday.  The second, Xavier Johnston, who is now 27 years old, was convicted of one count of rape after a second count involving the same victim was dismissed. Frasier says he hopes the governor will consider input from his office and the victims before deciding whether or not to commute the sentences. The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center also weighed in on the cases saying though the criminal justice system is undergoing needed equity, racial disparity, and juvenile justice reform, the rights of victims also need to be taken into consideration. In that letter, the agency called the communication manner insensitive and called for the Governor to make sure victims’ voices are heard in the commutation process.

Commutation of Sentence Order