About Michael Romano

Michael Romano is an Oregon lawyer and attorney focusing on criminal defense, divorce, DUI, and family law. He has law offices in both Portland and Bend Oregon.

Forensic Felons: Criminals in the Oregon Crime Labs

Nika Elise Larsen, a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator for Oregon State Police Crime Lab, faced a federal court on Aug. 15, 2016. Larsen pled guilty to tampering with evidence and theft of Schedule II type drugs through direct access to evidence in lockers while working out of Bend and Pendleton Oregon Crime Labs since 2008. Sentencing will commence on Dec. 12, 2016. The prosecution and the defense are recommending a three-year prison sentence. Due to Larsen’s tampering, around 1,500 cases are being reviewed by John Hummel, District Attorney for Deschutes County, Oregon, and by several Deputy District Attorneys. Reportedly, Larsen’s mishandling and tampering of evidence occurred with her own cases and those which she might have accessed in her eight years of employment at OSP. This case is one of several which have cropped up in the last eleven years through mismanagement and lack of oversight at OSP Crime Labs. Jeff Dovci allegedly overstated evidence in a 2005 criminal trial before he retired from the Central Point Oregon Crime Lab in 2013. He is now a private forensic consultant. OSP did an internal investigation and John Hummel found that Dovci had, “overstated scientific findings and minimized things that could have hurt the state’s case.” After reviewing the two cases that came into question, Hummel found that the convictions in question still stood on solid ground. A previous OSP forensic scientist, Kristopher Kyes, missed drugs and other substances in urine he tested at the Clackamas Oregon Crime Lab, which led to a review of 120 cases, 10 of which had potential discrepancies. This led investigators to reevaluate those 10 cases. The troubling trend of misconduct continues with OSP evidence technician, John D. Parrish, who was indicted on June [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:25+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Forensic Felons: Criminals in the Oregon Crime Labs

Marijuana Breathalyzer and Oregon DUI cases

The marijuana breathalyzer is a device designed to work much like an alcohol breathalyzer. In theory, the test subject blows into the device. The device then reports whether or not the test subject is under the influence of marijuana. However, the current devices cannot measure impairment. They can only estimate the level of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol; the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) on a test subject's breath.   Image from Hound Labs used under Fair Use doctrine. Hound Labs Marijuana Breathalyzer Hound Labs Inc. is an Oakland-based company that has introduced a hand-held portable device that measures the presence of THC in breath. The device is intended to be used roadside by law enforcement. The device requires two breath samples from the test subject (much like Oregon's Intoxilyzer 8000). The Hound Labs breathalyzer was developed in partnership with scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and it was designed to detect impairment from any recent THC consumption (smoking, vaping, or edibles). The company boasts that it's the first company to create a device capable of detecting and measuring THC in breath. They further claim that the device can accurately measure levels to below 500 picograms. The problem with this sort of claim is that it has absolutely nothing to do with whether someone is mentally or physically impaired because people will be affected differently by THC and the level of expelled THC from test subjects will also vary wildly. Image from Cannabix Technologies used under Fair Use doctrine. Cannabix Technologies Marijuana Breathalyzer Cannabix Technologies Inc. is a Vancouver, B.C. based company that has also developed a marijuana breathalyzer. Cannabix claims that the use of FAIMS (high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) can detect trace amounts of THC. However, as of the writing [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:25+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Marijuana Breathalyzer and Oregon DUI cases

New Location for Portland DMV Hearings

Governor Kate Brown's office announced on Friday August 19, 2016 that-- effective Tuesday September 6, 2016-- Portland DMV hearings resulting from arrests by the following agencies will be held primarily out of the Office of Administrative Hearings’ Division Street office: Portland Police Bureau (PPB)* West Linn Police Department* Canby Police Department Molalla Police Department The address for the Office of Administrative Hearings’ (OAH's) Division Street office is: 9226 SE Division Street Suite E Portland, OR 97266 *Note that some Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and West Linn Police Department overflow hearings may still be held in the Tualatin office.

By | 2016-08-19T12:49:46+00:00 |Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Location for Portland DMV Hearings

Can I record the police in Oregon?

With the widespread use of cell phones and digital cameras, many people want to know, "Can I record the police in Oregon?" Generally, the answer is "yes," but there are some considerations if you intend to record police officers. Can I video-record a police officers? Yes. Oregon law does not prohibit the video recording of anyone on public property if they do not have a reasonable expectation of personal privacy. There are exceptions that prohibit recording of nudity and sexual activity (see ORS 163.701 "Invasion of personal privacy in the first degree" and ORS 163.700 "Invasion of personal privacy in the second degree"). Can I audio-record police officers? Yes, but Oregon law required that the person being audio-recorded be notified. They do not need to consent. See ORS 165.540 "Obtaining contents of communications." Can I record the police officer when pulled over for a traffic stop? Yes, but you must notify them if you intend to audio-record. Also, see the other considerations below. Can I record the police officer during protests? Yes, but you must notify them if you intend to audio-record. Also, see the other considerations below. Can I record the police officer during other encounters? Yes, but you may also choose to simply walk away. Law enforcement can only detain you if you are suspected of committing a violation of law or a crime. If for some reason you choose to converse with the officer rather than leave the scene, you must notify the officer if you begin audio-recording. Also, see the other considerations below. Other Considerations when Recording the Police in Oregon As a citizen of the United States and Oregon, you have constitutional and statutory rights to take photographs, video-record, and audio-record anything in public (except as provided in ORS [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , |0 Comments

If your body could be a brewery, would that be a blessing or a curse?

Imagine not needing to buy alcohol or even needing to drink alcohol in order to get drunk. Further imagine that your own body was a brewery capable of producing alcohol internally. In the words of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, “What would you do with all that power?” Auto-brewery syndrome (gut fermentation syndrome) is an unusual medical condition in which potentially intoxicating quantities of alcohol (ethanol) are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system (aka “gut”) by a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae or a diploid fungus, yeast, and filamentous cells called Candida albicans. While the condition sounds to some like a joke or an excuse for DUI, auto-brewery syndrome is a very real — albeit rare — medical phenomenon. Because the yeast thrives on sugar and carbohydrates, treatment for the disorder typically consists of use of antifungal drugs and a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet. However, if a person doesn’t know they have this condition, they may not take steps to address it. Auto-brewery Syndrome in the Media In early 2014, The Mad Science Blog published a blog post that efficiently summarized the science of auto-brewery syndrome. Later in 2014, ABC News’ “20/20” ran a story titled, “Drunk Without Alcohol: Strange Condition Ferments Food in Gut” on auto-brewery syndrome. and BuzzFeed reported on the phenomenon in 2015, and Bustle also reported on it in early 2016. Most media reports on auto-brewery syndrome focus on the novelty and received humor of the medical condition, and the legal defenses it presents (or appears to present). However, for people who actually suffer from the condition, it’s anything but humorous. It’s alarming, frustrating, anxiety-causing, and dangerous. It can also lead to very expensive medical and legal problems. Is auto-brewery syndrome a [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|0 Comments


Photo from Twitter. No rights to image claimed. Used under the "Fair Use" doctrine. Have you tried the new bright-orange Nike BIKETOWN bicycles in downtown Portland? My fiance and I rented two bikes on Thursday July 21, 2016, and here's what we thought about the BIKETOWN bike share program: BIKETOWN PDX Pros Both the bikes and racks are easy to find, with their bright-orange color. The bikes are easy for pedestrians and drivers to see, with their bright-orange color. The bikes are nimble and have excellent steering. The bikes come with seven speeds, front and rear brakes, an integrated locking system, and even a bell built-in to the left grip. The bikes are shaft-driven and do not use chains. This is a "pro" and a "con." The "pro" is that you won't get chain oil marks on your favorite pants. BIKETOWN PDX Cons You'll either love or hate the bright-orange corals. I think this will largely depend on whether you're a user of the service trying to find a bike, or someone who's neighborhood lost parking to the expansive and unsightly rack systems. The rental of these bikes is very expensive. After only renting a bike a dozen times, one could simply buy a basic cruiser and have it for years. We both received a warning and a $2 penalty charge for briefly locking the bikes up as we had a light dinner. The bikes apparently have odd rules about how much time you can use them, how much time they can be ridden, how much time they can remain idle, and where you can lock them up. The bikes are heavy. They are not terribly heavy for riding, but the rear of the bike [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Portland bars that allow minor children

Are you looking for Portland bars that allow minor children? You're not alone. Families in the Pacific Northwest love their beer and wine. According to Oregon Craft Beer, as of July 2015, there 58 breweries in Portland, 84 in the Portland metro area, 23 in Bend and 31 in Central Oregon, and 14 in Eugene. According to the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, there are more than 400 wineries in the Willamette Valley (the heart of Oregon Wine Country). Below are links to lists of Portland bars that allow minor children: 5th Quadrant: 3901 N. Williams Ave., Portland OR, 503-288-3996 Aladdin Theater: 3017 SE Milwaukie Blvd., Portland OR, 503-234-9694 ext. 2 Alameda Brewhouse: 4765 NE Fremont St., Portland OR, 503-460-9025 Ankeny Tap & Table: 2724 SE Ankeny St., Portland OR, 503-946-1898 Base Camp Brewing: 930 SE Oak St., Portland OR, 503-477-7479 Blitz: 2239 SE 11th Ave., Portland OR, 503-236-3592 Blitz: 110 NW 10th Ave., Portland OR, 503-222-2229 Blitz: 10935 SW 68th Parkway, Portland OR, 503-719-5157 Breakside Brewery: 820 NE Dekum St., Portland OR, 503-719-6475 BridgePort Brewpub: 1313 NW Marshall St., Portland OR, 503-241-3612 Burnside Brewing: 701 E Burnside St., Portland OR, 503-946-8151 Bushwhacker Cider: 901 NE Oneonta St., Portland OR, 971-229-1663 Cascade Brewing Barrel House: 939 SE Belmont St., Portland OR, 503-265-8603 Columbia River Brewing: 1728 NE 40th Ave., Portland OR, 503-943-6157 Concordia Ale House: 3276 NE Killingsworth St., Portland OR, 503-287-3929 County Cork Public House: 1329 NE Fremont St., Portland OR, 503-284-4805 Deschutes Brewery Public House: 210 NW 11th Ave., Portland OR, 503-296-4906 EastBurn: 1800 E Burnside St., Portland OR, 503-236-2876 Ecliptic Brewing: 825 N Cook St., Portland OR, 503-265-8002 Ex Novo Brewing: 2326 N Flint Ave., Portland OR, 503-894-8251 Fat Head's: 131 NW 13th [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Divorce, Family Law|Comments Off on Portland bars that allow minor children

False Positive Drug Tests in Oregon

There are frequently false positive drug tests in Oregon. The most common test kit used by Oregon State Police troopers, local sheriff's deputies, and city police officers is the NIK kit. The kits are relatively inexpensive and used in the field (during active investigations) to quickly test for controlled substances (aka "illegal drugs"). They are also used improperly by law enforcement to mislead suspects, judges, grand jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys, defendants, and third-parties by providing a quasi-scientific aura to field drug testing. Take, for example, a cop in the field who wants to arrest someone for possession of cocaine. Let's say the person is found in possession of some pills and white powder in a baggie, but denies possession of cocaine. The cop runs a NIK test and then tells the suspect (the person is now a "suspect" in the eyes of the cop) that the test came back positive for cocaine. The cop will then arrest the suspect, and book them into jail. At the grand jury proceeding, the cop will tell the prosecutor and the grand jurors that the person was in possession of cocaine, based on the NIK test. This may make the difference between felony charges being filed, or not. The truth of the matter is that Tylenol PM could cause a NIK test to come back positive for cocaine-- even though there is no cocaine in Tylenol PM. For an illustrative video of how false positive drug tests can happen, check out the video below: If you'd like to read even more about this project, check out the False Positives Equal False Justice executive summary.

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Comments Off on False Positive Drug Tests in Oregon

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for law firms

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are a new Google-backed form of webpage that are expected to be implemented into Google's search engine results in early 2016.  Some marketers are theorizing that Google will give these pages a ranking boost because they will load fast and thus be preferred by mobile users. Preliminary tests have shown that AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages. Search Engine Land has an article on the subject here, and more info can also be found at the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project,  and a primer on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) can be found here, here, and here. More technical info is available here. Aside from the fact that Accelerated Mobile Pages are eventually expected to rank better than standard pages, it's important to consider that prospective clients don't have a lot of patience for bloated, slow-loading pages. Attorneys make want to consider the technical and psychological appear of a distilled-down page with good content, that loads quickly. In a nutshell, it doesn't appear that the pages can easily be written in an editor and simply put into a traditional attorney/lawyer website. It looks like the pages will require much more technical knowledge to code. However, it appears that this will be either the new format for mobile content or will provide a glimpse into where mobile content and design are headed. With more and more clients searching for legal advice and shopping for attorneys/lawyers on their mobile devices, hopefully there will be some editors created which will allow attorneys/lawyers to create these pages (or convert existing pages) in-house. UPDATE: Yoast now has a couple of good posts about AMP roll out here and here. Two plugins also appear to [...]

By | 2016-10-15T17:02:03+00:00 |Categories: marketing|Comments Off on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for law firms

Abuse of disabled prisoners at Oregon DOC

Disability Rights Oregon has completed a review of hours of video, interviewed 19 prisoners, and has issued a report detailing abuse of prisoners in Behavioral Health Unit at the Oregon State Penitentiary-- including routine use of tasers, pepper-spray, isolation, and denial of access to adequate mental health care. Disability Rights Oregon (formerly Oregon Advocacy Center) was established in 1977 (as the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Advocacy Center) and is designated as Oregon’s Protection & Advocacy (P&A) system. Following a series of investigative reports in 1975 by reporter Geraldo Rivera, Congress mandated that each state and territory receiving funding under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975 (the "DD Act") establish a P&A system to protect the rights of people with developmental disabilities. Read more at OPB.    

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 |Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Comments Off on Abuse of disabled prisoners at Oregon DOC