Is being a less-than stellar parent a crime? The Washington County DA thinks so. Earlier this week the Oregon Court of Appeals threw out a conviction for Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree. The case was the result of a household dog biting a child on a number of occasions. While certainly not a model for good parenting skills, was this a crime?
Under Oregon law a person commits the crime of burglary when they: 1) Enter or remain unlawfully in a building or residence, 2) with the intent to commit a crime therein. Most people think of burglary as breaking into a building for the purpose of stealing something. However burglary under Oregon law covers a much wider range of conduct. Unlawful entry cases arise when a person enters premises without the consent or authorization of the owner. A person remains unlawfully when, after entering with permission, they fail to leave after such permission expires or is revoked. It is often said that in either case, an unlawful entry or an unlawful remaining, that a burglary conviction requires a criminal trespass for the purpose of committing a crime. What then is required for criminal trespass you might ask? Confusingly Oregon law defines criminal trespass as (did you guess it?) to "enter or remain unlawfully." It is this circular definition that is at the heart of much of the burglary confusion.
People in Oregon may be aware that according to state and federal laws, conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more people to commit a criminal act. For that act to be considered an offense, the law requires that there was at least one explicit act of conspiracy that was committed to further the interests of the conspiracy agreement.
The Internet is one of the most significant inventions ever. Sometimes, it even seems as if the world has been reduced to a computer screen. People access their bank accounts, purchase anything from groceries to wedding rings on the internet and live substantially in the virtual world. In such a situation, internet crimes can wreak havoc on a person's life.
If a person willfully assumes the identity of another person by illegally obtaining the first person's identity in order to deceive and defraud other people, it is considered identity theft. Identity theft is punishable under Oregon law and comes with severe consequences. If the offense that the person committed was serious, it may result in charging the accused person with a felony, even if the initial offense was a misdemeanor.
Oregon residents may be aware that the U.S. judicial system is divided between federal and state courts. That means that some courts are under the jurisdiction of the state constitution while others are under the jurisdiction of the United States Constitution. However, there are certain differences between the two, primarily depending on the type of cases that are heard in each type of court.