Second degree murder is a set of steak knives. Or if you prefer, a bucket of chicken.
As part of his plea deal, [Defendant Tremayne] Durham asked to serve his [aggravated murder] sentence in a New York prison. Oregon doesn't have an interstate compact with New York but [Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Eric] Bergstrom said he'd write a letter asking that Durham be transferred to a prison nearby, such as New Jersey or Connecticut.
Durham's defense attorney, Richard Wolf, said Durham wanted to test whether Bergstrom would really make his best effort to secure the transfer. To show his good faith, Bergstrom agreed to Durham's request for a bucket of chicken.
The bucket of chicken turned into a feast including mashed potatoes, carrot cake and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. After his sentencing today, his defense attorney confirmed, Durham gets the rest of the deal — calzones, lasagne, pizza and ice cream. His attorneys — not taxpayers — are picking up the tab.
But the state paid for the chicken.
I sympathize with the judge's desire to avoid an expensive trial, but honestly, bribing a defendant for a guilty plea with a bucket of chicken so trivializes the court, and makes such a mockery of the law that it's supposed to uphold, that I would support a prosecutor who, on being presented with such a ludicrous proposal, had decided to chuck the plea and go straight for the death penalty.
Shame on Judge Bergstrom, and on Deputy District Attorney Josh Lamborn, for allowing this defendant to make a joke of the sentence hearing in front of the victim Adam Calbreath's family.