Candidates: Oregon Attorney General

Ellen Rosenblum, Independent, Working Families Party, Democrat

ellenrosenblum.com

  1. On investigating police misconduct.

Particularly at this time of reckoning, with protesters demanding an end to police violence and action to address racial injustices, what’s most important is that investigations be conducted independently. Currently, my office can only investigate if a district attorney or the governor requests it. If the Legislature were to give my office broader authority, the Oregon Department of Justice will conduct our investigations with utmost care–but will need additional resources to be effective.

  1. On better handling of mental health issues in the justice system.

First, we need to ensure that justice system personnel on the street are better educated on mental health issues and better trained in de-escalation techniques. Ideally, every Oregon city would have a service in place modeled on Eugene’s Cahoots. Second, we need mental-health courts, where all involved are focused on getting people proper treatment; jail is rarely the appropriate way to address mental health challenges.

  1. On transparency and fairness in the justice system.

Transparency and fairness in Oregon’s justice system are pillars of my work. The hate crimes and police profiling task forces I led focused on collecting, analyzing, and reporting data — to create actionable information. Our work has provided support to victims of bias and hate and helped reduce — but not eliminate — racial disparities in stops and arrests. My office has also led the most significant Public Records Law reform in 40 years, giving the public timelier and better access to records.

Candidate did not respond by deadline

Michael Cross, Republican

michaelcross4oregon.com

  1. On investigating police misconduct.

The Oregon Constitution provides for the attorney general to provide legal opinions and represent the state in a variety of capacities. The attorney general is also sworn to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Oregon Constitution, and state law. Toward those end I will call for and support the investigation of alleged police killings and/or misconduct, and call for prosecutions where warranted and called for by the law.

  1. On better handling of mental health issues in the justice system.

Mental health issues contribute to derailing the lives of many, and complicates the struggles of those trying to get their lives on track. People need to take responsibility for their actions, but I will improve the balance between punishment and mercy by making recommendations on legislation, and taking into account mental health issues when issuing legal opinions and making official representations. I also support exonerating wrongfully convicted people when new evidence comes to light.

  1. On better handling of mental health issues in the justice system.

In ensuring transparency, securing the rights of all Oregonians, and holding executives accountable who exceed their legal or constitutional authority, the attorney general is empowered to issue legal opinions on all of these matters (and more) as provided for in the law. Perhaps as important, the office of attorney general also offers a platform to educate Oregonians about their rights under the law and how to hold all public officials accountable for how they use their authority