November 15th, 2021
Elisabeth Shepard, Communications Director
DA Mike Schmidt announces four new prosecutors to bolster gun violence casework
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that he has hired four new prosecutors to add capacity to investigating and resolving cases involving a firearm — particularly homicides. The new hires come just weeks after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office (MCDA) received temporary funding from the County for this explicit purpose following a joint announcement with county leaders. The $1 million investment adds 4 prosecutors and 2 investigators to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. The search for the added investigator positions is still underway.
“The search to fill these positions started the moment Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and I hung up the phone after she told me we would receive added funding. The volume of homicides this year has quickly outweighed the resources our office has to handle resolving them.”
“Our focus is on the victims,” DA Mike Schmidt said. “The families and loved ones of those we’ve lost over the last three years simply cannot wait for progress any longer. Our office, in partnership with the County, has met this need with urgency. Help is on the way.”
In addition to added prosecutorial and investigative capacity, DA Schmidt and the County have emphasized an all-hands-on-deck, 21st-century approach, declaring the surge in community violence as a public health crisis, partnering with community-based organizations on a suite of upstream programs including behavioral health and conflict resolution, among others. More recently, the County has added two new deputies to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office focusing on family protection orders and dispossession of firearms and ammunition when court-ordered and emergency investments in housing.
“A lot of things have to happen in a person’s life before they pick up a gun and decide to shoot another person. These cases are difficult and frequently overlap with domestic violence, addiction, and easy access to guns. The fight both upstream and downstream is critical,” said MCDA prosecutor Kate Molina, who brings 9 years of experience to the office.
“I’ve been to seven call-outs this year. Our escalating caseloads are also compounded by court backlogs due to the pandemic. New prosecutors mean more time can be devoted to individual cases and means more people who can be called upon to help when a life is lost,” Molina went on.
All four new prosecutors will start full-time by early December.