Those to be released have to meet several criteria;
(Update: More details in Crook County DUII case; DA Wade Whiting comments; 3 on the list are held at Deer Ridge)
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that she will commute the sentences of 57 medically vulnerable adults in state prison custody, due to their risk for significant health challenges, should they contract COVID-19. Two are from Central Oregon.
This decision comes following the governor’s direction to the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) to perform a case-by-case analysis of adults in custody vulnerable to COVID-19. DOC’s review identified individuals who:
- Are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as identified by DOC medical staff;
- Are not serving a sentence for a person crime;
- Have served at least 50% of their sentence;
- Have a record of good conduct for the last 12 months;
- Have a suitable housing plan;
- Have their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and adequately addressed; and
- Do not present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community.
“I received a list of 61 adults in custody from the Department of Corrections for consideration of commutation. I have authorized the commutation process to begin for 57 of those individuals, all of whom are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and who do not present an unacceptable public safety risk. I would like to thank Director Peters and her team for their diligence in completing their case-by-case analysis,” Brown said.
Three adults in custody were reviewed by DOC, but were not offered commutation by the governor because they are scheduled for release within the next seven days, meaning the commutation process would not meaningfully affect their release date.
One additional adult in custody on the review list was not scheduled for release until 2025, and the governor decided that commutation at this time would be premature.
DOC has confirmed that 13 adults in custody on the commutation list have housing and continuity of health care plans in place. For those individuals, the commutation process can begin as soon as the adult in custody tests negative for COVID-19.
The commutation process for the remaining adults in custody will begin once DOC confirms each of their housing and release plans are in place and they have tested negative for COVID-19.
Those granted commutation will still be subject to post-prison supervision. Time remaining on each adult in custody’s original prison sentence will be converted to post-prison supervision and added to their PPS sentence.
PPS typically requires released individuals to meet a number of conditions, including regularly checking in with their parole officer, participating in substance abuse and mental health evaluations, and not possessing any firearms.
Individuals who violate the terms of their PPS are subject to sanctions, including a return to prison and revocation of their commutation.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel confirmed to NewsChannel 21 that one person on the list was a Deschutes County case, that of Moises Sanchez-Alcaraz.
The Washington state resident was 58 when he was arrested in a Highway 97 traffic stop south of La Pine in July of 2017 that turned up more than five pounds worth of cocaine worth more than $67,000 in his car, according to Oregon State Police.
Court records show that after numerous delays, he pleaded guilty in January of this year to delivering cocaine and was sentenced to a 13-month state prison term and two years of post-prison supervision.
Hummel noted that Sanchez-Alcaraz "doesn’t have a housing plan in place yet, and will not be released until he does."
The second Central Oregon inmate on the list is Michael Schwartz Sr., a Redmond resident who pleaded no contest in Crook County in May 2019 to two counts of DUII and received a 28-month state prison term, a lifetime drivers license suspension and two years post-prison supervision.
Schwartz, too, is on the list of those DOC is working to find approved housing and continuity of care for, and won't be released until that is in place.
Schwartz's previously projected release date was early next June, while Sanchez-Alcaraz would have been released no earlier than July 22nd of this year.
Crook County DA Wade Whiting noted that Schwartz was convicted in two DUII incidents, also speeding with a suspencted license in January 2018. With an arrest warrant outstanding, he was caught a year later, again with a suspended license.
"At the time of these convictions, Whiting said, Swhartz had five previous DUII convictions, dating back to 1980 in Molalla, and three in Deschutes County in 2018. He's been convicted of felony crimes going back 50 years.
"He has been convicted of crimes in five different decades," Whiting told NewsChannel 21. "Now that the governor has decided to release him early, I sincerely hope the people of Crook County are not the victim of another crime adding a sixth decade to his record.
"I am a firm believer that the public should expect truth in sentencing. When a criminal defendant is sentenced by a judge to a term of incarceration, the public should have the utmost confidence that the defendant will serve the entirety of the sentence," the DA said.
Schwartz is one of three inmates on the commutation list who are held at the minimum-security portion of Deer Ridge Correctional Institution east of Madras. The others are Abel Almaguer, convicted of methamphetamine possession in Multnomah County, who was due for release in December, and John Kingston, convicted of criminal conspiracy to deliver meth, who wasn't due for release until March 2022.