A lack of public defenders in Portland, Oregon has caused Multnomah County judges to dismiss hundreds of felony cases including cases involving robbery, assault, and harassment.
According to the District Attorney's office, 300 cases have been dismissed in 2022 through December 9 because of the public defender shortage, two-thirds of which were felony cases.
In November, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said in a statement, "Months into this crisis, many are still waiting for their day in court while others have seen their cases dismissed altogether."
Schmidt, an outspoken progressive, was elected in 2020 while Portland was engulfed in Antifa-backed riots and violence. Schmidt has been critical of police and implemented significantly relaxed bail reform policies during his tenure.
Schmidty said the lack of public defenders "sends a message to crime victims in our community that justice is unavailable and their harm will go unaddressed. It also sends a message to individuals who have committed a crime that there is no accountability while burning through scarce police and prosecutor resources."
According to a review from the American Bar Association, Oregon only has 31 percent of the public defense attorneys it would need to properly handle all the cases that come through the courts.
They voted poorly.