citizen initiated citation

After scary pass and encounter, an attempt to seek justice from video evidence

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 14th, 2015 at 11:22 am


This woman could be a key witness of a dangerous pass on SE 34th Avenue last week.
(Still from video by Tony Tapay)

[Read more…]

Man issues citizen citation after police decline to investigate red-light collision

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 10th, 2015 at 10:29 am


Knoll’s mangled bike.
(Photo: Cedar Knoll)

A man nearly crushed last week by a large box truck whose driver allegedly ran a red light on Martin Luther King Boulevard has issued a rare citizen citation after Portland police declined to investigate.

According to Cedar Knoll, a food courier for the local company SoupCycle, the man drove his truck at high speed through what would have been a well-established red light at the intersection of NE Dekum Street and MLK Boulevard (map). Knoll said the driver only stopped the truck and returned to the scene after a witness drove after him and flagged him down.

A police officer who came to the site told Knoll, accurately, that it would be against Portland Police Bureau policy to investigate the incident or issue an officer-initiated citation because Knoll didn’t need to leave the scene in an ambulance (for more on the PPB’s investigation policy, read our report from 2008).

Here’s Knoll’s account of what happened, written before he issued the citizen citation:

[Read more…]

Lawyer creates DIY toolkit for citizen prosecutions

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on June 25th, 2008 at 11:46 am

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. [Read more…]

Updated: Police Bureau denies information request for citizen initiated citation process

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 29th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

[Note: I’ve updated the post (at 3:45pm) to include a response from the Deputy City Attorney.]

The denial.
Click to enlarge, (240k, jpg)

The Records Division of the Portland Police Bureau has denied a request for information made by lawyer Christopher Heaps in an ongoing effort to utilize an Oregon statute to file “citizen initiated citations,” in a series of recent traffic collisions.

Claiming that they made a mistake in releasing information about Lisa Wheeler that led to her no-contest plea in the case where she was at fault for hitting cyclist Siobhan Doyle but did not receive a citation at the scene, the Records Division has now denied a similar request for information made by Heaps in a separate case.[Read more…]

Citizen citation yields success; driver pleads “no contest”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 27th, 2008 at 11:16 am

Lawyer Chris Heaps was not
satisfied with the Police response
to a bike/car crash, so he
pursued justice himself…and got it.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Christopher Heaps, the Portland lawyer who mounted a “citizen initiated” campaign last December to bring the driver who hit Siobhan Doyle to justice, says we can “chalk one up for the good guys.”

Heaps learned this morning that the driver, Lisa Wheeler, has plead “no contest” and will have to pay a $182 fine for violation of ORS 811.050, or “failure to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane”.

Back in November, Doyle was riding her bike down N. Interstate Ave. when Wheeler, who was also traveling on Interstate turned right onto Greeley, hitting Doyle in the process. The collision put Doyle in the hospital with serious injuries, but due to Police policies that (used to) only require investigations when “Trauma-level” injuries were sustained, no investigation was performed at the scene, and therefore, no citation was issued.[Read more…]

Guest article: The Citation Odyssey

Avatar by on December 19th, 2007 at 9:31 am

Christopher Heaps

The article below was written by Christopher Heaps. Heaps is a lawyer with Stoel Rives who has volunteered to carry out the “citizen-initiated citation” process (as outlined in ORS 153.058) to retroactively cite Lisa Wheeler (the woman who hit Siobhan Doyle at N. Interstate and Greeley back in October) for “failure to yield”.

The article below chronicles his experience in making the first significant step in that process. It’s a fascinating look into the challenges a citizen can face when trying to work for justice within the system.

[Read more…]

Citizen initiated citation will be filed tomorrow

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on December 11th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Lawyer Christopher Heaps.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

Christopher Heaps, the Portland attorney who’s leading an effort to bring a motor vehicle driver to justice for failing to yield to a bicycle in a bike lane, plans to file the formal citation at the Multnomah County Courthouse tomorrow.

Heaps has completed an Oregon Uniform Citation and Complaint (a.k.a. a traffic ticket, scroll down to see it) that lists Lisa Wheeler as the defendant.

Wheeler was driving south on N. Interstate Avenue on the morning of November 6th when she made a right turn onto Greeley Avenue and collided with Siobhan Doyle. Doyle (who has been in contact with Heaps and supports this effort) was riding her bicycle in the bike lane and the collision sent her into the trauma center at a local hospital with serious injuries.[Read more…]

One year ago today: Cyclist initiates motorist citation

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 6th, 2007 at 10:55 am

Now that I’ve been at this for a while, it’s fun to take a look back at stories from the past. One year ago today I brought you the inspiring story of Mike Reuter.
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Full account of citizen initiated complaint process

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 25th, 2006 at 8:46 am

Cyclist Mike Reuter was the first person to utilize a little-known legal procedure known as the Citizen Initiation of Violation Proceedings. This legal process allows crash victims to take the law into their own hands. It was first brought to light by Portland lawyer Ray Thomas and I posted about it back in January.

Back on April 6th of this year Reuter successfully used this procedure to issue a citation to a driver that hit him back in September 2005 yet was never charged with wrongdoing at the time of the crash.

In order to help other people that might find themselves in a similar situation, Reuter has provided a detailed account of his experience. I have published it below.
[Read more…]

Cyclists fight back in court…and win

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 21st, 2006 at 10:14 am

Allan Folz is the third cyclist in as many weeks to successfully defend himself in court. Earlier this week, he fought a citation he got while riding to work in Beaverton back in February (read his story in the Forums). His victory follows the cases of Sean Barrett and Mike Reuter who also took the initiative and won respect from a system that still caters to car culture and leaves cyclists guilty until proven innocent.

We’re still many years away from garnering the same respect in the system as motorized vehicles, so it’s up to us to demand it. We need to educate ourselves and be willing to fight for our rights when necessary. Here are some great tips from Allan about how your can increase your chances of victory in court:
[Read more…]