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February 3, 2005

Law professor Tom Lininger named chair of Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission

Governor Ted Kulongoski has appointed University of Oregon law professor Tom Lininger chair of the state’s criminal justice commission.  With a budget of $12 million, the bipartisan commission helps plan criminal justice policy, writes Oregon’s sentencing guidelines and administers grant money for juvenile crime prevention.

Lininger, a former Lane County commissioner and federal prosecutor, teaches evidence, ethics and criminal law. He has served on the commission since 1998 and has been acting chair since 2003.

His top priorities for 2004 include reconsidering the state’s sentencing guidelines and advising the legislature on combating methamphetamine trafficking.

“Oregon needs a long-term strategy to deal with the methamphetamine problem.  We need greater emphasis on treatment of addicts, investigation of methamphetamine manufacturers, and regulation of precursor chemicals,” Lininger said.

Last June, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that any fact that lengthens a mandatory sentence must be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Lininger said, “After the (Blakely v. Washington) decision, Oregon needs to review its sentencing practices and ensure that the proper questions are presented to the jury.”
 
Subsequent Supreme Court decisions in 2005 have created new challenges for states such as Oregon that rely on sentencing guidelines, and Lininger will be reviewing Oregon’s system to make sure it complies with the Court’s recent rulings.

Lininger grew up in Ashland and is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School. He worked as a federal prosecutor and as a litigator for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom in San Francisco. Governor John Kitzhaber appointed him to the Criminal Justice Commission in 1998. He joined the law faculty in 2003.

He replaces longtime Marion County District Attorney Dale Penn ’76, who chaired the group during the 1990s and now serves as executive director of the Oregon Lottery Commission. Attorney General Hardy Myers ’64 chaired the commission before that, when it was known as the Oregon Criminal Justice Council.

Members of the bipartisan commission are selected for political and regional balance, and include state legislators, district attorneys and civic activists.

Commission members:

  • Ginny Burdick  of Portland is a Democratic leader in Oregon’s state senate. She earned a masters degree in journalism from the UO.
  • Mike Burton served as CEO of Portland Metro, the regional government for three Oregon counties, and was a five-term Democratic state representative.
  • Dwight Holton, of  Multnomah County, is a federal prosecutor.
  • Josh Marquis ’80 is Clatsop County’s district attorney, a victim’s rights advocate and longtime commentator on Court TV. He lives in Astoria.
  • Medford attorney Rob Patridge served as a Jackson County Republican state representative from 1998 to 2004.
  • Salem civic leader Anna Peterson was campaign manager for retired Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Ed Peterson ’57 and founded a community task force against the manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine. She earned her bachelors degree from the UO.

Lininger said, “The commission’s members bring diverse interests to the table.  Some are legislators.  Some work in the criminal justice system.  Some are community activists.  The members see the criminal justice system from different angles, and the combination of these various viewpoints allows us to craft balanced policy.”


Oregon Criminal Justice Commission

 

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Oregon Law » Newsroom » Law professor Tom Lininger named chair of Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission