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Judge Greif deserves reelection

I write in support of the reelection of Judge Lisa Greif to the Circuit Court for Jackson County. I have known Lisa for 21 years, as a colleague at the public defender’s office and on the bench. I have always been impressed by her quick mind, initiative and work ethic.

I strongly disagree with those who think Judge Greif should be removed from the bench for some private texts she wrote to a plaintiff who was suing On Track and its director, Rita Sullivan.

Her opponents argue that her actions and texts were clearly inappropriate in a case before the court that she sits on. While technically true it was a Jackson County Circuit Court case, every judge from Jackson County had recused themselves from handling the case.

What is important to remember is that her texts were private and obviously, at least in part, in jest.

What the voters need to understand is that Judge Greif was trying to maintain the integrity and efficacy of our treatment courts. For many years before the texts, there were major concerns in the court, treatment provider community, and social services community about a conflict of interest between Judge Pat Crain and Rita Sullivan.

It was clear to me as presiding judge between 2012 and 2015 that this conflict of interest was undermining everything that treatment courts are about. When I brought reports about the problems at OnTrack to Judge Crain, she would always dismiss them. “Every treatment program has those problems.” It was clear to me and almost everyone involved in the treatment courts that Crain and Sullivan were trying to take them over, to run them as they wished, with no accountability.

I called an in-person meeting to try to address this conflict with Crain and Sullivan. Crain just sat there while Sullivan ripped into Judge Greif for having friends. Not for any conflict of interest, but for having friends in the treatment community and other social services.

Both Crain and Sullivan tried to deny there were any issues with OnTrack or OnTrack housing. When bedbugs were infesting OnTrack housing, they denied there were bedbugs until an entomologist confirmed it was true. Then Crain and Sullivan united in their position that it was the tenants’ fault.

Because of its many problems over the years, OnTrack imploded. The last straw being that they were not keeping anything close to adequate counseling records, as required by the Oregon Administrative Rules.

Crain and Sullivan blame Judge Greif for that implosion, rather than admit that the issues at OnTrack were longstanding and internal.

They shopped the texts around trying to find someone to file a complaint against Judge Greif. Then they asked numerous attorneys to run against Judge Greif.

Judge Greif should be the presiding judge in Jackson County. The judges of our court voted her so twice. She withdrew from this position because of the actions of Crain and Sullivan.

Judge Greif has productive connections, with most, if not all, of the court’s community partners. This includes the defense and prosecution bar, treatment providers, those in social services and law enforcement.

She is working diligently with many judges from throughout the state to meet the challenges facing the judicial department during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Greif has been part of a work group that has helped develop proposed emergency legislation, has assisted in the drafting of language in the Chief Justice’s orders, and has been working on best practices and guidance for the judicial department during these unprecedented times. She is Jackson County’s designated quarantine and isolation judge and has been at the forefront of our court’s efforts to maintain public health while continuing essential court proceedings and operations.

She is tireless in her efforts to improve the criminal justice system and our treatment courts. She is especially passionate about our mental health court, which she created from scratch.

I ask the voters of Jackson County to recognize a valuable public servant and reelect Judge Lisa Greif.

Lorenzo Mejia is a Jackson County Circuit Court judge. He is speaking for himself, not the court.

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