Justice delayed is justice denied

Michael Medill will not face charges for posting warning signs at Henry Hagg Lake. Or maybe he will. It sort of all depends on the mood of bureaucrats on any given day.

On Saturday, September 6, Gaston resident Michael Medill was arrested for placing signs at Henry Hagg Lake warning about a dangerous drop-off at the Sain Creek swimming area.

The charge was Criminal Mischief II, Oregon Revised Statute 164.354. Medill was released at the scene pending arraignment on Tuesday, October 7. After a firestorm of protest, Washington County officials announced that they were dropping all charges. Those officials included commissioners Andy Duyck and Bob Terry, along with District Attorney Bob Hermann and Sheriff Pat Garrett.

As of October 6, however, one problem remained. The charges had not been dropped. Medill still faced arraignment on October 7. His name did not appear on the formal docket, but officials confirmed to me that he still had to show up or face arrest for a separate charge of failure to appear.

I will be at the Washington County Courthouse at the arraignment time dictated on his arrest citation. Michael Medill tells me that he will be there as well. The charges could be formally dropped at that time. Or maybe they won’t be. It sort of all depends.

I doubt that any charges will be pursued, because county officials are scurrying for safety and pointing accusing fingers at each other, but in the meantime, Michael Medill remains under de facto probation until the statute of limitations expires. It’s a sentence without a trial, and a symptom of a county bureaucracy devoid of accountability.