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The truth about settlement conferences

Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus

HERMISTON, Oregon – The Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office and the attorney for alleged murderer Tyree Houfmuse failed to reach an agreement at a recent settlement conference. District Attorney Dan Primus says even when an agreement is not reached, a settlement conference – with a judge from outside the area – is helpful to both sides.

“I do believe that these settlement conferences have values for all parties, when you can bring in an experienced judge that is out of county to give the parties a little bit of input as to what they have seen in similar cases throughout the state,” Primus said.

The conferences don’t just help attorneys for the defense and prosecution in testing their presentations. They can also help the alleged criminal and the people impacted by the crime.

“It could really give some good feedback to victims, or to talk to a defendant specifically regarding their case,” he said. “I think it can be difficult for defendants to come to the realization of what they’re agreeing to do.”

Primus says the next step will be setting a trial date for Houfmuse, who is charged with murder in the shooting death of James Cragun of Hermiston in May.

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