Oregon judge interrupts victim's statement and leaves courtroom before she finishes

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Judge Kenneth Walker/Oregon Judicial Department

An Oregon newspaper column is criticizing a Multnomah County judge for interrupting a domestic assault victim’s impact statement and then walking out of the courtroom before she finished.

Judge Kenneth Walker interrupted Dana Parks three times before he sentenced the man who assaulted her and left the courtroom, according to a tape of the hearing reviewed by the Oregonian. The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center is seeking a new sentencing hearing, citing a violation of Parks’ right under Oregon law to speak about the impact of the crime.

The entire hearing lasted about 27 minutes. Walker stopped Parks from speaking before she could read the last paragraph of her statement. Says the Oregonian, “The least we can do for a victim is give her 20 minutes of the court’s time.”

Walker first interrupted Parks when she talked about a crime that had not been charged, according to the Oregonian’s account. “I don’t want to hear this. Continue with your message,” Walker had said.

At another point, Walker agreed with the lawyer for the defendant that Parks couldn’t read statements that other people had posted about the assault on her Instagram account.

The third interruption occurred when Parks was ready to read her final paragraph. “OK, I’ve heard enough. Thank you. Thank you,” Walker said.

Walker sentenced the defendant to an agreed upon sentence of 36 months in prison. The prosecutor then asked Walker “if the court would allow” Parks to finish her statement.

“I think Ms. Parks has said enough,” Walker said before leaving the courtroom.

Walker’s office did not comment in response to a request by the Oregonian. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the ABA Journal.

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