SB 496 and SB 505

Grand Jury Recordings

April 21, 2017 UPDATE

One measure of concern that did make it out the Senate Judiciary Committee is SB 496, which has the primary goal of recording grand jury proceedings. However, there is a small section in the measure that would cause the records to become publicly-requestable when a law enforcement officer is the target of the grand jury. ORCOPS has been fighting against this provision for several years, and the measure now moves to the Ways & Means Committee, where ORCOPS will continue to oppose it. Senator Kim Thatcher (R – Keizer) voted with ORCOPS on the measure in the Judiciary Committee.

March 15, 2017

These bills would require recording of all grand jury proceedings. While the defense attorneys and district attorneys are negotiating methods of protecting sensitive witnesses (some law enforcement protections such as those for confidential informants are already included in the measure), ORCOPS was the first organization to bring to the committee’s attention a provision that would have permitted the public release of proceedings dealing with the conduct of a law enforcement officer. For example, if an officer’s use of deadly force in the line of duty is considered by a grand jury, the recording of the proceeding would be subject to public release after the grand jury issues a not true bill. During office meetings as well as to the full committee, ORCOPS stood fast in opposing a carve-out targeting law enforcement officers. (Even as an other law enforcement organizations offered their qualified support to the public release of such materials.) ORCOPS has been defending against this and similar pieces of legislation since the 2015 Legislative Session. We have been working directly with committee members to secure a set of amendments to the measure that will protect officers’ records from public release.

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