Oregon State Representative Mike Nearman is lucky – for now – even though he’s just been charged with two crimes. It sounds quite unlucky. But upon further examination, the fact that Nearman was only charged with misdemeanors, probably the type that can be wiped from one’s record in five to ten years contingent upon straight-up good conduct, is actually pretty lucky.
From Crooks and Liars:
According to court records, Nearman has been charged with first-degree official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, and second degree criminal trespass, a class C misdemeanor.
The decision to charge Nearman follows a monthslong investigation by state police that began Dec. 21. As lawmakers met in a special legislative session to take up COVID-19 relief that day, surveillance footage showed Nearman exiting the locked Capitol building into a throng of protesters who were trying to get inside the statehouse. In doing so, he appeared to purposefully grant entrance to far right groups demanding an end to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19.
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Shortly after that breach, demonstrators scuffled with state troopers and Salem police. One man is accused of spraying officers with bear mace, allowing the crowd to make their way further into the building. Several people were arrested before the Capitol was cleared, and members of the crowd went on to shatter glass doors and assault journalists outside the building. Nearman, meanwhile, promptly walked around the building and entered on the opposite side.
So why is Nearman lucky? He got caught, did he not?
He is lucky because he could have been charged with far more, even though it would be tougher to prove. According to the Oregon Criminal Code:
(1) A person is guilty of criminal conspiracy if with the intent that conduct constituting a crime punishable as a felony or a Class A misdemeanor be performed, the person agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct.
We have to believe that spraying a state officer with bear mace and shattering government property is a felony. In order to prove that Nearman was part of a felony conspiracy is to prove; 1) his co-conspirators intended to conduct a felony (entering the building with bear mace and breaking glass sounds like intent to commit a felony, and 2) Agree with the conduct (Nearman must have agreed with them, they had a plan), 3) Engaged in “causing the performance of the conduct. (Opening the damned door sounds like helping to cause the conduct.)
It really doesn’t matter if Nearman didn’t necessarily agree to allow bear mace and destruction of property, he only agreed to allow his co-conspirators to get in to do whatever they did.
He could easily be charged with a felony. Nearman is a lucky man. MAGAs like him need to have the book thrown at them to slam the door, rather than opening it. Amazing that the MAGAs always point to Portland Oregon, alleging Antifa’s destruction of property, as the ultimate “leftist riot.” Like everywhere, it seems to be different when one’s “lucky” enough to be white.
[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiciak