Contacts: Alex Gardner, Lane County District Attorney, 541-682-4261
Stephen Dingle, Lane County Senior Assistant County Counsel, 541-682-4442
On May 2, 2012 Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner made a request that the Criminal Justice Division of the Oregon Department of Justice conduct an investigation of allegations that Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy had committed criminal acts under Oregon law. The allegations against Commissioner Handy were made in a letter dated May 2, 2012 drafted by Eugene attorney Alan Thayer on behalf of Lane County resident John Brown. The letter also contained allegations that Commissioner Handy had violated various election and ethics laws. The Thayer letter referred the various allegations to Alex Gardner Lane County District Attorney, Kate Brown Oregon Secretary of State, Steve Trout Oregon Elections Division and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
The Oregon Department of Justice has found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Commissioner Handy committed any crime under Oregon law. Andrew Campbell, Senior Assistant Attorney General concluded: “While his conduct may have violated personnel policies and ethics rules, it does not meet the criteria for criminal prosecution.” Any additional questions regarding the reasoning behind the decision should be directed to the Oregon Department of Justice.
The allegation that Commissioner Handy violated election laws is still under investigation by the Oregon Secretary of State. Questions about the current status of their investigation should be directed to the Oregon Secretary of State.
The allegation that Commissioner Handy violated Oregon ethics laws was referred to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Questions about the current status of their investigation should be directed to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
Commissioner Handy has filed civil litigation against Lane County and various Lane County public officials and employees. Lane County Presiding Judge Karsten Rasmussen has assigned Coos County Circuit Court Judge Richard L. Barron to hear both cases. The public meetings law case, Lane County Circuit Court case 16-12-13685 has been tentatively scheduled for a hearing on Lane County’s anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) motion on October 5, 2012. The public records lawsuit, Lane County Circuit Court case 16-12-10517, has previously been set for trial on January 8, 9 and 10th 2013. As a result of the pending litigation, the County is unable to comment further on these matters. All of the County’s responses to the litigation filed by Commissioner Handy are public records and will constitute Lane County’s official response to the lawsuits filed by Commissioner Handy.
Lane County Government looks forward to resolution of all of these matters. The Commissioners, County Administrator, and staff remain focused on the business of the County and serving our residents and community.
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Lane County Government will work to create a prosperous community by providing collaborative leadership, fair and inclusive decision making and excellent sustainable local governmental services to our residents and guests.