Work in Progress
Claims of gender bias at Multnomah District Attorney‘s Office
Last week, an attorney at the Multnomah District Attorney’s Office, Amber Kinney, submitted her letter of resignation to her boss, Mike Schmidt, who was elected in 2020 on his platform of criminal justice system reform and police accountability.
Kinney explained that she was not quitting because of any “philosophical differences” with Schmidt’s policies — for which he was elected in a landslide — but rather due to her workload and his gender discrimination, which she stated had impacted the promotion and retention of women prosecutors. Kinney noted that the problem of gender discrimination predated Schmidt’s arrival at the office, but asserted that it had worsened under him — even going so far as to claim that “women’s forward progress” had been “set back decades” under his leadership.
She included statistics in her letter to support her allegations: Women mostly have not been hired or promoted into leadership roles under Schmidt; and of the people who have resigned since Schmidt’s election, the majority were women.
Those stats appear compelling at a glance, but Kinney’s data was produced in a relatively small office (77 attorneys) during an atypical period of time (Covid, Portland protests, absolute mess left after the dramatic resignation of Schmidt’s predecessor, etc.).¹ Under those conditions, it wouldn’t take much to skew the numbers dramatically and lead to a faulty hypothesis. More significantly, Kinney cannot speak for the other women who resigned.
Regardless, the interesting part of Kinney’s letter — which the Oregonian wisely chose to exclude from its article about her departure — was her suggestion of work accommodations for women:
“Increased workloads disproportionately impact women. Women, especially those of us who are also mothers, are often tasked with much of the domestic responsibilities in addition to our career responsibilities. Women are far less likely to have a career and a stay-at-home partner. In fact, I do not know of a single female attorney in our office who has a stay-at-home partner. By contrast, many male attorneys in our office do have stay-at-home partners. So when workloads increase, it disproportionately impacts those whose lives do not allow for continued absorption of increased work. If retaining female prosecutors is a priority, then [Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office] must acknowledge the inherent differences between women and men. You must examine your implicit gender biases and make conscious accommodations to correct for the unequal impact of this work on women.”
Kinney seemed to be advocating for decreased workloads as accommodations for women. However, she admitted that the entire office suffered from overwork — not just herself or women in general:
“[M]y caseload, and all caseloads in our office, have doubled in the last two years.”
That is to say, the office has a labor shortage and needs to hire more attorneys. Kinney’s proposed accommodations would simply shift women’s² caseload to others — evidently men with stay-at-home partners — and create a new group of exhausted and aggrieved employees.
Importantly, that new group would also suffer based on its gender. That is not a solution to the office’s problems, merely a trade-off that some would, apparently, find acceptable.³
Astonishingly, Kinney closed her letter by directing Schmidt to her Tiktok account, @knowabuse — where she seems to have enough time to create content for her 150K followers, including videos that appear to have been made in the District Attorney’s office.
For his part, Schmidt released a clear statement about the resignation:
“Deputy District Attorney Kinney is an excellent attorney and an asset to this office. I am sorry to see her go under these circumstances. That said, we dispute the claims in her letter of resignation. We believe that there are misrepresentations about our management structure and a devaluing of the equally important role of non-attorney staff within that structure, among other disputes. We value equity, transparency, and equal opportunity within our office, which is more representative, both in terms of gender and race, and ethnicity, than both the Oregon State Bar as a whole and the population of Multnomah County. We are deeply committed to uplifting diversity at all levels. We apply these values to our everyday work from how we make decisions to how we treat the people that we work with and the communities that we serve.”
The public may decide for itself if Amber Kinney misrepresented her individual lack of progress as an indication that District Attorney Mike Schmidt — or the office itself — is incapable of progress.⁴
¹ It is worth noting that Kinney’s letter mentioned the challenges presented to the DA’s office by covid, but failed to mention the challenges presented by the BLM protests in Portland; nor did Kinney present any statistics regarding the progress of non-white attorneys in the office.
² Kinney made no distinction between single and partnered women, or between those with or without children.
³ Personal anecdote: several years ago, I covered the entire workload for a coworker out on bedrest, then maternity leave, then postpartum depression — around six or seven months — without any extra compensation or reduction of my own workload. There were other people better-suited to cover the work, but they were married with children. Our boss made it clear that she picked me because I was childless and single. This made me resentful, to put it mildly, and I resigned the minute my contract was up.
⁴ The public should read Kinney’s letter firsthand, rather than rely on the agenda-driven Oregonian article for information — which failed to clarify that everyone in the office had their workload doubled, not just Kinney or women in general.
Justice Department Finds Substantial Evidence of Gender Bias in Missoula County Attorney’s Office
Response to Sexual Assault Cases with Women Victims at Issue
Today, the Department of Justice issued a letter of findings describing problems in the Missoula County, Mont., Attorney’s Office’s response to sexual assault, and concluding that there is substantial evidence that the County Attorney’s response to sexual assault discriminates against women. The department opened civil pattern or practice investigations of the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, along with the Missoula Police Department and the University of Montana’s Office of Public Safety, in May 2012. The department investigations, brought under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, focused on allegations that the three law enforcement agencies were systematically failing to protect women victims of sexual assault in Missoula. The department, along with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, also opened an investigation of the University of Montana’s handling of allegations of sexual assault and harassment of students under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The investigation of the Missoula Police Department and both investigations of the University of Montana were resolved in May 2013, via cooperative agreements with the Justice Department.
“Prosecutors play a critical role in ensuring that women victims of sexual assault have effective and equal access to criminal justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “We uncovered evidence of a disturbing pattern of deficiencies in the handling of these cases by the County Attorney’s Office, a pattern that not only denies victims meaningful access to justice, but places the safety of all women in Missoula at risk. We hope that this letter will enable us to move forward with constructive discussions with the County Attorney to resolve these serious concerns.”
The department’s investigation uncovered evidence indicating that the Missoula County Attorney’s Office engages in gender discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution as well as relevant federal laws. In particular, the investigation found evidence that the decisions of the County Attorney’s Office regarding the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults and rape, particularly non-stranger assaults and rapes, are influenced by gender bias and gender stereotyping and adversely affect women in Missoula. The investigation found that the following, taken together, strongly suggest gender discrimination:
· Despite their prevalence in the community, sexual assaults of adult women are given low priority in the County Attorney’s Office;
· The County Attorney does not provide Deputy County Attorneys with the basic knowledge and training about sexual assault necessary to effectively and impartially investigate and prosecute these cases;
· The County Attorney’s Office generally does not develop evidence in support of sexual assault prosecutions, either on its own or in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies
· Adult women victims, particularly victims of non-stranger sexual assault and rape, are often treated with disrespect, not informed of the status of their case and revictimized by the process; and
· The County Attorney’s Office routinely fails to engage in the most basic communication about its cases of sexual assault with law enforcement and advocacy partners.
“Over the past eight months, the City of Missoula, the University of Montana and the Missoula Police Department already have made important strides toward improving their response to sexual assault and strengthening the community’s confidence in its local police,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter for the District of Montana. “It is our sincere hope that the Missoula County Attorney will follow that example and work cooperatively with the Justice Department to address the deficiencies identified in our investigation, and to improve the safety of women in this community.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana. The prevention of sex-based discrimination is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Offices. The Civil Rights Division has worked to ensure that women are not subject to discriminatory practices by law enforcement in New Orleans, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
EX MULTNOMAH COUNTY PROSECUTOR CLAIMS WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION
from the Oregon Observer, Nov. 1994 (re-published with permission)
The Oregon Observer is printing this story as presented byRoger Weidner, an ex-prosecutor with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.
Investigators with the Oregon Observer have searched for denials from the principals in this case to no avail. We would urge any of the parties involved to come forward with any evidence that disputes the validity of the claims in this story.
As a hard-hitting investigative newspaper, the Oregon Ob-server wishes to expose the truth, unconver the facts, and present them to the People of the entire State of Oregon. It is with this mission in mind that this story appears in our pages.
To lend some credibility to the claims which Roger Weidner has made in many courts, on the record, we add the following quote from Martha Hicks, a prominent attorney at the offices of the
Oregon State Bar: “I am prosecuting Milton Brown and have been for quite some time.”
This quote was made to investigative reporter Ed Snook with the Oregon Observer from her office on October 25, 1994.
CLAIMS OF CORRUPTION ON A GRAND SCALE
Exposed in the Oregon Supreme Court by Roger Weidner, Governor Barbara Roberts, Attorney General Ted Kulongowski, Multnomah County District Attorney Micheal Schrunk and other Federal, State and local officials
subpoenaed to appear before a special Grand Jury convened by Roger Weidner on October 14, 1994 to inquire into the cirminal conduct of attorneys and judges covering up the alleged murder of attorney Don Kettleberg by his business partner, attorney Milton Brown and Dr. Charles Hahn, and the conversion by Brown and Hahn of $35 million in Kettleberg estate assets. None of the above appeared before the Grand Jury.
Roger Weidner, an attorney on inactive status with the Oregon State Bar and while serving on jury duty in Multnomah County on October 14, 1994, subpoenaed not only the public officials mentioned above but also the following:
* All justices of the Oregon Supreme Court
* All Judges of the Oregon Court of Appeals
* The entire Oregon congressional delegation
* Portland Mayor Vera Katz
* City Attorney Jeff Rogers
* All City Commissioners
* Clackamas County Commissioners and Counsel
* Mr. Teitsworth with the FBI
* Caroline Leonard, Director of the local IRS office
* Ray Taylor with the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS
* Robert Skipper, Multnomah County Sheriff
* James O’Leary, Clackamas County District Attorney
* Charles Moose, Portland Police Chief
They were all to appear to show cause why Roger Weidner, as a member of the Multnomah County Juror Panel, should not convene a special Grand Jury to investigate the alleged ongoing criminal conduct of attorneys and judges in Multnomah and Clackamas County Oregon. The ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE and the SUBPOENA sent to those public officials appears at the end of this article. Weidner appeared before the Oregon Supreme Court with 40 of his supporters including Dal Ferry, editorial writer with the Oregon Observer.
The attentive and courteous Justices sat in stunned silence as an animated Weidner described in detail his allegations that:
1. Portland Attorney Milton Brown abd Dr. Charles Hahn murdered their business partner Don Kettleberg by writing “do not resuscitate” on his hospital records to cause his death before Janette Kent, Kettleberg’s fiancee, returned to Portland. Weidner contends it was necessary Kettleberg be dead when Kent returned so Brown and Hahn could execute their forged buy-sell agreements.
2. How Brown placed his secretary Caroline Brune in as personal representative of the Kettleberg estate while she was still on Brown’s payroll and had her prepare an estate inventory showing the $21 million estate assets worth only $1.6 million.
3. How Brown and Hahn, with the aid of Brune and her attorney Michael Gentry, through a series of sham transactions.
4. How Weidner has been repeatedly ordered arrested in the presence of 40-50 supporters, when he has appeared in the courts of Judges Lee Johnson, Don Londer, Philip Abraham, James Ellis, Joseph Ceniceros, Gregory Milner and Steven Mauer to make a record of the scandalous criminal conduct of attorneys and judges in stealing all the Kettleberg estate assets and $1.5 million in preperty belonging to New World Ministries.
5. How Weidner was violently arrested on orders of Judge Philip Abraham when he attempted to appear in Multnomah County Presiding Court and make a record of the fact that he had been subpoenaed into that court by Milton
Brown and believed that a trap was being set to take his life.
6. How Weidner has been arrested 6 times in Multnomah County Circuit Courts and 3 times in Clackamas County Circuit Courts and incarcerated a total of 112 days on the orders of Judges Lee Johnson, Donald Londer, James Ellis, Phillip Abraham, Joseph Ceniceros, Steven Mauer and Gregory Milnes when he has attempted to appear in their court and make a record of their criminal behavior in aiding and abetting attorneys Brown, Schmit and others in looting the Kettleberg estate and New Wine Ministries.
7. How real estate salesman Linn Springer with the aid of Lake Oswego attorney Ken Schmit and Kathy and George Mason enticed pastors Helen and Chet Jones to purchase a farm in Beavercreek, Oregon on which the debt exceeded the value of the property.
8. How Clackamas County Judge Alan Jack ordered the pastors off the property after they had made over $200 thousand dollars in improvements.
9. How Clackamas County Sheriff Sergeant Terrence Schaeffer ordered the pastors off the property at gun point and refused to allow them to remove over $1 million in store fixtures and inventory stored on the property. How all property belonging to New Wine Ministries, valued in excess of $1.5 million, was looted by Kathy Mason, Ken Schmit and others.
10. How Don Calkins, former husband of Kathy Mason and the true owner of the property, sold his interest in the property to Weidner in an attempt to block Schmit and others’ attempt to steal the property.
11. How Weidner was arrested by Sgt. Schaeffer when he walked on the property, was tried and convicted of criminal trespass by Judge Mauer and sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years of probation.
12. How Weidner was forcibly arrested in front of 40 supporters by Captain Sherwood Stillman and 6 armed deputies when he attempted to appear before Judge Gregory Milnes to set aside the order dismissing the complaint he had filed against Judges Alan Jack, Patrick Gilroy, Sid Brockley, John Lowe, and Ken Schmit, Linn Springer, Kathy Mason, George Mason, Capt. Stillman, Sgt. Schaeffer, Clackamas County counsel Miles Ward and Martha Hicks with the Oregon State Bar for racketeering.
13. How Captain Stillman locked the courtroom doors and shuttered the windows on the doors to seal Weidner and his supporters in the courtroom prior to forcibly arresting Weidner. Jane Angus was prosecuting Weidner for the Oregon State Bar. During her 5 minute presentation tot he court, she did not refute the truthfulness of the charges being leveled against the attorneys and Judges named above. Nor did any of the Justices hearing the charges question Weidner about the charges he was making.
“It is simply intolerable that this condition in our courts and government be allowed to continue,” states Weidner. ”
As the state director of the Constitutional Defenders I am asking that each person reading this paper make it available to at least one other person.
I am also asking that each person reading this paper make a demand on Senators Hatfield and Packwood, as well as the newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon to compel a congressional investigation of this massive corruption in our courts.” Our children and posterity will surely and rightfully condemn each of us if we let it be said, that we were born free but because of our apathy, timidity or indifference we let our Rights protected by the Bill of Rights, that our fore-fathers fought so hard to secure, to be taken from us without a fight.
We must all act immediately to restore adherence to the state and U.S. Constitutions!
The Oregon Observer
15033 SE McLoughlin, Box 312
Milwaukie OR 97267-2800
Justice Department Finds Substantial Evidence of Gender Bias in Missoula County Attorney’s Office
U.S. Justice officials accuse Montana prosecutor of gender bias in rape cases
‘Boys will be boys’ no excuse; feds target Montana handling of rapes
Underwriting Corruption: Attorneys pick up the tab for Oregon State Bar’s favoritism