This bill was a small but important change to the statutes that recognized that minors who are charged with prostitution are not criminals but rather victims themselves.
Under Oregon law, minors cannot consent to sex and therefore it is inconsistent to prosecute minors with the crime of consenting to sex with money. Representative Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) worked with groups such as Youth, Rights & Justice, Oregon Center for Christian Voices, National Crime Law Institute, and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel to bring forth HB 4146. The bill requires the expunction of juvenile records involving prostitution when the subject was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense. Expunction is required to occur without a waiting period and, if no objection is filed, without a hearing. In practice, juveniles are typically not charged under the prostitution statute, so HB 4146 made a fair change to the law to provide a clean slate to youth prosecuted under the old practices.
HB 4146 passed without opposition. While this bill implements just a small change to expunction statutes, we anticipate a proposal for a more thorough overhaul of these laws in 2013. We will be working with representatives from the district attorneys, the criminal defense attorneys, and other stakeholders in the interim to develop these proposals.
Vote: 57-0, 3 excused (House); 30-0 (Senate)