BikePortland.org

Lawyer creates DIY toolkit for citizen prosecutions


Lawyer Ray Thomas during a press
conference earlier this month.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland lawyer Ray Thomas has released a do-it-yourself toolkit of resources and case studies meant to help anyone who seeks to bring violators of traffic laws to justice.

The process, known as a “citizen initiation of violation proceedings,” is based on an Oregon law (ORS 153.058) that gives a citizen the right to file a traffic citation against another citizen.

Back in February, we followed a high-profile example of this process.

In that case, Christopher Heaps (a lawyer by training) and several volunteers spent hours requesting paperwork from the police and negotiating the court system to force a driver of a car who had hit a woman on a bike to show up in court and face justice.

The driver in that collision was not initially charged with any infraction, even though she turned across a bike lane, hit someone, and caused serious injuries. After the police declined to cite the driver, Heaps filed his own citation for “failure to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane”. The driver ended up pleading “no contest” to the citation and was forced to pay a fine.

Now, Ray Thomas wants to streamline that process and arm more people with the information needed to carry out this process.

On a page on his firm’s website titled, Citizen Prosecution of Dangerous Drivers: A Users’ Guide on How Others Have Done It and How You Can Do It for Yourself, Thomas offers several resources including;

You can download all the documents and learn more about the process at the Swanson, Thomas & Coon website.

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