The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office proudly supports House Bill 2797 (“Taylor’s Law”). Sponsored by Representative Jeff Barker and Senator Betsy Johnson “Taylor’s Law” would require a sentence of 58 to 130 months in prison after a person is convicted of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance that results in the death of another person who used the controlled substance.
“Taylor’s Law” is named after Taylor Martinek who died at the age of 24 on January 14, 2017. He was a loving, smiling, larger-than-life son, brother, grandson, and friend. Taylor attended Jesuit High School in Washington County, Oregon where he played football. His talents allowed him to play with Portland State University. During his football career, Taylor suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. Doctors prescribed Taylor opiates to manage the pain, but he became addicted. In January 2017, he purchased pills that he thought were Xanax and OxyContin. It was later discovered that the pills contained a lethal dose of fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opiate.
Gap in Oregon Law
There is no law currently available to any of Oregon’s 36 district attorneys that would enhance the punishment for someone who delivers a controlled or manufactures a substance that results in someone’s death. The current sentencing guidelines in a drug overdose related homicide are wholly inadequate. Under current law, probation is usually the presumptive sentence a person could receive.
“Taylor’s Law” will fix the gap in Oregon law. To read the proposed law, click here. “Taylor’s Law” will ensure that no family ever has to go through the anguish that the Martinek family did when they realized the justice system could not adequately hold those who contributed to Taylor’s death responsible.
The Westside Interagency Narcotics (“WIN”) Team (based in Washington County, Oregon) investigated Taylor Martinek’s drug overdose death. The team collected the pills found next to Taylor and through forensic evaluations determined that the pills had been laced with fentanyl, unbeknownst to Taylor who thought he was just buying prescription pills. The pills had been created to look like actual Xanax and OxyContin pills. They been pressed so the commercial logos were on the pills. Click to here see an example. During the investigation, law enforcement identified three people on the supply chain who contributed to the sale and/or exchange of pills to Taylor. One of the suspects, prosecuted by Washington County, received 12 months of probation. Another received 26 months in prison, but only because of the extraordinary efforts of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, which carefully coordinated with the Clark County, Washington Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the State of Washington where the suspect had committed a robbery while out on release pending trial in Taylor’s overdose case.
Addiction v. Profiteer
Addiction is an illness that must be handled by trained medical providers who are supported by appropriate community-based services and resources. Drug profiteers are those who are knowingly providing and making money off people who have an addiction. “Taylor’s Law” is intended for district attorneys to target the highest level drug dealers and/or illegal drug manufactures. In Multnomah County, services like the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD®) Program and the Treatment First Program are designed to help low-level drug users break their addiction and reduce recidivism. “Taylor’s Law” targets the person profiting of the deaths of our community members, not those with an addiction.
- Click here to visit the “Taylor’s Law” Facebook page
- Click here to email the Martinek family
- Click here to schedule a media interview with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
- Click here to learn more about the Washington County Westside Interagency Narcotics
- Click here to see data provided by the State Medical Examiner’s Office on cocaine, heroin and meth related deaths
- Click here to read the “Frequently Asked Questions” about “Taylor’s Law.”