Juvenile Expunction: Senate Bill 575 (2021)

On June 26th, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 575, the juvenile expungement reform bill. SB 575 will automatically clear the records of over 5000 youth each year who have records created due to contact with law enforcement but were not convicted in juvenile court. And, for those youth who have been convicted in juvenile court and later rehabilitated, it provides early access to court appointed attorneys to assist with clearing their records.

In Oregon, when youth have contact with law enforcement or the juvenile court, paper and electronic records are created. Information in these records is publicly available. Juvenile court records are treated the same as adult criminal court records for most collateral consequences, creating barriers that keep youth becoming successful adults.

This bill is the first step to reforming our juvenile expunction law. The nationally-renowned Juvenile Law Center found Oregon’s law to be more oppressive than the national average on three factors: timing of expungement, availability of expungement based on the offense, and access to automatic expungement.

SB 575 Implementation Toolkit

Expunction Process

Eliminating Juvenile Fines and Fees: Senate Bill 817 (2021)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 817 (SB 817) into law on July 19th, 2021, enacting bipartisan reform that will help thousands of Oregonians by eliminating fees and fines charged to young people in the juvenile system and relieving vulnerable youth and their families of tens of millions of dollars in outstanding debt.

This landmark legislation makes Oregon the third state in the nation to completely eliminate juvenile fees and fines, following Maryland and New Mexico. Oregon is the sixth state this year and the twelfth state to reduce or eliminate juvenile fees as part of a growing movement across the country.

Senator James I. Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) and Representative Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) introduced SB 817, which was championed by Youth, Rights & Justice and supported by groups including Our Children Oregon, Stand for Children Oregon, and the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s Youth Justice Project. A coalition of national groups across the political spectrum also supported the bill, including the Justice Action Network, R Street, UC Berkeley Law’s Policy Advocacy Clinic, and the Fines & Fees Justice Center.

For more information on how SB 817 works:

Enrolled SB 817

YRJ’s Guide to SB 817 Implementation

Prohibiting use of deceit, trickery, or artifice during law enforcement interviews of youth:  Senate Bill 418

Effective January 1, 2022, SB 418 establishes that a statement made by a youth during a custodial interview conducted by a peace officer, related to a misdemeanor or felony crime, is presumed to be involuntary if the peace officer intentionally used information known by the officer to be false to elicit the statement. Requires a district attorney to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a statement was voluntary to overcome presumption.

Research shows that young people are particularly susceptible to manipulation during interrogation. Due to an undeveloped prefrontal cortex, youth have particularly weak judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities as compared to adults. Youth are more likely to falsely confess for the same reasons that they are at risk for dangerous behavior: impulsivity and difficulties in weighing risks and rewards, vulnerability to pressure and suggestion, and motivation from short term rewards. This developmental timeline is linked to vulnerabilities in interrogation, increasing the likelihood that youth falsely confess to criminal acts that they did not commit. Juveniles are 2 to 3 times more likely than adults to confess to criminal acts they did not commit.1

Thank you to Senator Gorsek and the Northwestern School of Law Center on Wrongful Convictions for their leadership.

For more information about how and why youth falsely confess, see Street Root’s Oregon bill would end police trickery and deceit in juvenile interrogations.

Enrolled SB 418

1 Crane, Nirider, Drizin, The Truth About False Juvenile Confessions, American Bar Association Insights on Law and Society 16.2 (2016). 

Youth Justice Reform: Senate Bill 1008 (2019)

Oregon Senate Bill 1008 was signed into law by Governor Kate brown on July 22, 2019. The bill makes sweeping changes to policies and practices put into place by Measure 11 in 1994.

SB 1008 changes how Measure 11 cases are handled for youth, and gives decision-making power back to judges who can assess risk and protective factors. SB 1008 removes the requirement that youth ages 15, 16 & 17 charged with certain criminal offenses be automatically waived to adult court. Prosecutors wishing to charge a youth as an adult must file a motion for a waiver hearing.

The bill was supported broadly by individuals in and organizations in the juvenile justice community. Supporters include: Oregon Youth Authority, Oregon Department of Corrections, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Equal Justice Initiative, ACLU, Youth, Rights & Justice, county juvenile directors, numerous judges, attorneys, and advocacy organizations.

A special thank you to the late Senator Jackie Winters for being a strong champion and catalyst for change.

Enrolled SB 1008

SB 1008 Staff Measure Summary

The Appeal’s Summary of SB 1008