If you think dealing with the legislative system is frustrating, you don’t know the half of it.
Those of you who followed the case of Jeff Maxwell, a Marine Corp veteran who was arrested at Western Oregon University for exercising his Second Amendment rights, know how long we have been involved in our efforts to get justice for him.
It has been a very long and complicated journey,
Although we were able to quickly get the criminal charges against him dropped, getting the Oregon University system to comply with the law is another matter.
As those of you who have followed our defense of the Medford teacher know, these processes can take a ridiculously long time. (We are still awaiting the Appeals Court decision on that issue.)
This case was complicated by a number of factors. First, there were several ways we could have approached it. Each had their own strengths and liabilities.
Second, other organizations got involved in the issue, As a result, there was a major possibility that we would be working at cross purposes with people who were trying to reach the same goal we were.
When multiple players are addressing the same legal issue, their cases could be consolidated, or one group might be bumped out of the process altogether. While any legal strategy comes with a chance of losing, we felt very strongly that we had to have a plan that had the greatest chance of success for Maxwell and all gun owners. We also had an obligation to protect Jeffery from any additional liability.
Frankly, this took a lot longer than we expected. For those of you who have so generously uted, we thank you for your support and your patience.
As you know, early on we considered a Federal Deprivation of Civil Rights lawsuit. At one time, we felt strongly that that was the best way to go.
As this case developed, our attorneys concluded that that path might not be the most beneficial. There were a number of reasons why. One, there was a distinct possibility that the Federal Courts might simply refuse to hear our case. Because another organization had served notice of their plans to challenge Maxwell’s suspension in state court, the Feds might very likely have taken the position that they would not rule until the State had reached a conclusion.
Had that happened, there would have been little we could do for a long time. But there were other considerations. Our attorneys informed us that should the Feds hear our case, and our side lost, Maxwell could be personally liable for attorney’s fees.
We have always been clear that our Foundation would pay for Jeffery’s legal bills, but we were not comfortable allowing him to be in the financial cross hairs. We can budget for known lawyer’s bills, and our supporters have been very generous, but to have him be technically responsible instead of us made no sense.
So, after much consideration and discussion, with a lot of input from friends in many quarters, we chose another route that we believe will allow us to reach a conclusion to this matter and isolate Jeffery from any future potential liability. Jeffery has been involved on all stages of this process and is on board with this strategy.
On August 7th, our attorneys filed a Petition for Judicial Determination of Validity of Rule.
Since our Foundation is the plaintiff instead of Jeff Maxwell, he cannot be liable for any negative outcomes in the future. The law also requires that the plaintiff not be a party to any current dispute, so the Foundations becomes the perfect party to address this issue.
There are other reasons why we believe, win or lose, that this will be the best way to go.
As you know, we have been involved in numerous legal actions when we felt there was no legislative remedy. As you also know, courts are really accountable to no one and they reach some bizarre conclusions. If the case was just about Jeff, the courts may have found a creative way to either affirm Jeff’s suspension from school, or reverse it while never addressing the rule itself. Then we could face this same battle again.
We have sued the Oregon University System in the past with no resolution. The way this case is crafted, we believe that we have a far better chance of getting an answer that applies to everyone.
This step unfortunately, is but the first of a long trip. The actual legal battle will go on for some months. But it’s a battle that must be fought.
Once again, we thank you for your support and patience. We thank the courageous legislators who have stepped up to challenge the law-breakers at the University System , especially Senator Brian Boquist and Representative Kim Thatcher and we ask that you continue to stand with us as this lengthy process unfolds.