On April 8, 2020, Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton submitted an Op-Ed to the Oregonian in which he praised the work of police officers, sheriff's deputies, 911 dispatchers, child abuse clinics, and his own office for continuing their jobs during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 shutdown of our state and court system. He even spoke of a proposal to hold trials in a gymnasium and spreading everyone out to maintain "social-distancing." However, in the self-congratulatory article, he left out some important information. Our democratic and adversarial criminal justice does not operate and work without the participation of criminal defense attorneys, court staff, judges, and citizens who appear for jury duty. All of these individuals are equally as essential as district attorneys.
He also suggested we should not be releasing people from custody and somehow the desire to have nonviolent offenders released, since there is no social-distancing in crowded jails. He somehow equates the realization that, in the name of public safety, overcrowded jails is a public health problem to a demand for mass release of prison inmates. These things are apples and oranges.
I submitted a response to the Oregonian and on April 15, the paper published it. Read it here.