Appeals Court Overturns Eugene Protester Conviction
The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed the 2009 resisting-arrest conviction of a man who was tased by police at an anti-pesticide rally in Eugene.
Ian Van Ornum was 18 years old when he participated in the protest downtown in 2008. Police warned him to stay out of the street before arresting him for disorderly conduct. During the arrest, officers twice used a stun gun on Van Ornum while he was on the ground. The Appeals Court said a trial judge erred in describing for jurors when a person is allowed to use self-defense in response to an officer's use of unreasonable force. Laura Fine Moro was Van Ornum's trial attorney.
"It is a victory for Mr. Van Ornum, but it leaves unresolved the matter of how citizens can safely protect themselves from unlawful use of force. I also think that it taps into the national debate that we have right now about police use of force and mis-use of force and how citizens respond."
The Lane County District Attorney has declined to re-try the case. Fine Moro says Van Ornum has moved on with his life, has a family and a music career.