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    Open for Business, Waiting for the Flood

    By Stephen Raher While the COVID-19 pandemic took most people by surprise, Oregon’s bankruptcy court was actually well-prepared for the disruptions.  “We have been working on our emergency preparedness plans for years,” says Clerk of Court Charlene Hiss.  “While these contingency plans are usually implemented for weather-related disruptions, they have worked just as well during the current health-related lockdown.” According to Chief Bankruptcy Judge Trish Brown, “The court focused on three goals when we revised our operations and procedures: complying with public health guidelines, remaining open for all people and businesses who need our services, and protecting our staff and customers.” Complying with stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines has…

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    The Federal Defender Office Continues Operations During The Covid Pandemic

    By Nell Brown The Office of the Federal Public Defender kicked off teleworking on March 12 with our first ever 4 pm all-office conference call and the signing of telework agreements for our personnel files. Far from time off, the Federal Public Defender staff has worked long hours during the pandemic, tackling new work such as advocating for vulnerable clients in potential prison hot spots while maintaining normalcy in workflow as much as possible and keeping our staff safe. For two months, we have maintained a stellar skeleton crew of just a few employees in the office to staff the phones and work with the court on daily business. All…

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    On Liberty, During a Pandemic

    By U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman I enter the courtroom and sit behind the bench in silence, without the ceremonial “all rise.” Instead of greeting the defendant, defense lawyer, prosecutor, and a small crowd of onlookers in the gallery, I sit alone and turn on my computer. On the monitor, the split-screen captures video feeds from all over the state: an individual in custody in federal prison, a defense lawyer sitting at his kitchen table, the prosecutor sitting in her home office, a court reporter, an interpreter, and me, seated and robed at my courtroom bench, positioned in front of our federal court seal. Court is in session. Thanks to…

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    Remembering Judge Dennis Hubel

      By Dan Thenell The U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society notes with great sadness the passing of U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Hubel on September 16, 2019. We look forward to posting an extended article in the future based on his oral history. Denny, to his friends and Judge to me and my co-workers, was a trial lawyer’s judge.  He followed the law, he treated participants in the judicial system with intense fairness and was never unprepared. Judge Hubel was appointed as a part-time U.S. magistrate judge in 1995, while a partner at Karnopp Petersen in Bend, Oregon. He moved to Portland’s Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse when he assumed…

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    Remembering Judge Garr M. King: “Unquestionably and Eminently Qualified”

    By Carra Sahler When I try to conjure up an image that captures what it is to have “good judicial temperament” it is Judge Garr M. King who comes to mind. A man who embodied kindness and thoughtfulness, he was decisive, fair, diligent, and empathetic as well. I had the pleasure and joy of working for Judge King for 12 years, nearly two-thirds of his service on the federal bench. His service started with his appointment by President Clinton in 1998 and ended with his death on February 5, 2019. Those who knew him called him Mike—asking for Garr on the phone marked the caller as a stranger. But to…