WHO IS THIS GUY ANYWAY?
THE TORTURED LEGAL LIFE OF MARK COMSTOCK
His demeanor is decidedly nondescript. One would not pick attorney Mark Comstock out in a crowd. Small in stature, glasses, conformed mien in all respects. He is the ‘Plant’ of Oregon’s legal elite community. By a powerful Oregon constituent: The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon, Paul De Muniz. His law partner. Mark Comstock is ubiquitous.
Mr. Comstock first came to my attention at the 2002 Oregon State Bar initiation for the next crop of fresh-faced BAR Board of Governor’s members (think Board of Directors). Each year three are anointed from the 13,000 lawyers in the state. They immediately eye each other suspiciously because in two years one of the three will be the President of the Oregon State Bar; the other two will slide into oblivion. Or get picked for powerful committees and commissions in Oregon. And who knew he was the back-channel communicator straight to his boss.
Oregon Supreme Court Chief Judge Paul De Muniz had big things in mind for Mr. Comstock. His former law firm partner.
What I didn’t know, but Mark probably did; the fix was already in. Chief Justice De Muniz needed Mark for his eCourt project. This project started in 2004 and is not projected to be completed until 2015. The cost of this project to Oregon taxpayers is over $200 million dollars of which $100 million has already been wasted. Mark Comstock has been in charge of this project since 2004 with no end in sight. Oregon’s eCourt project is a fiasco by any measure.
Judicial Elections and Mark Comstock
This dynamic duo’s (Comstock and De Muniz) new project is the Oregon Law Commission. They want to do away with Oregon’s Constitutionally mandated judicial elections. All Oregon judges are supposed to be elected by Oregon voters. Only 25% of Oregon judges are actually first elected. 75% of new Oregon judges are appointed by the Governor. It is a rigged system.
Oregon’s governors relish ignoring Oregon’s Constitution because they like the ‘power’ of judicial appointment. But, retired Justice De Muniz has a fear of flying alone. So, he arranged for Mark Comstock to have a place on the Oregon Law Commission. Former Chief Justice De Muniz has ordered that the Oregon Law Commission be coconspirators in further rigging judicial elections in Oregon.
Big Money in the Big Oregon Easy
Have you ever wondered where the really big money is in Oregon’s legal profession? Nike’s legal department maybe? Nope. Big Downtown Law Firms? (BDLF) Nope!
What law firm in Oregon has more law firm branch offices than any other?
Which law firm in Oregon has more lawyers employed than the Oregon District Attorney association? It is Oregon’s Legal Aid corporation that has many issues that should concern you that will be set forth here later.
The Legal Aid Services of Oregon corporation has spacious offices at the Pittock Building in downtown Portland, but few customers. Indeed, if you happen by 921 SW Washington Street sometime, drop by the fifth floor. You will see a humongous lobby with nobody in it. There are two receptionists, one sweating the Latino calls, the other screening EVERYBODY else out of the office. There are few who qualify for their services. By their own numbers they serve only 20% of the Poor in Oregon.
I defy you to identify a single Legal Aid lawyer helping anybody in Portland’s eviction court. Or foreclosure court. Or any Oregon court where poor people are processed through a heartless system. You will NOT see Mark Comstock there.
But, you will see Mark Comstock on the Board of Directors for Oregon’s Legal Aid society.
Oregon State Bar Board of Governors
So, there was Mark at the table at the most important Public Corporation in Oregon; the Oregon State Bar. An $11 million dollar company. There he is at the controls of over $200 million; the eCourt budget of Oregon’s Judicial Department and appropriated by Oregon’s Legislature. There he is at the controls of over $45 million dollar budget of Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Now consider this:
Oregon Chief Justice Paul De Muniz (retired?) arranged for his OTHER law firm partner, John Hemann to be a member of Oregon’s Public Officials Compensation Commission which sets judicial pay for the State of Oregon. So, Justice De Muniz arranged for his law partner to set his pay.
Hang on to your beanie’s. This dynamic duo, Comstock and De Muniz at the controls of or controlled almost 3/4 OF A BILLION DOLLARS of your taxpayer money for legal services in Oregon.
Oregon State Bar......................................................$11 million
Oregon Legal Aid.......................................................$45 million
Oregon eCourt Project............................................ $200 million
Oregon Judicial Dept. ..............................................$450 million
TOTAL .......................................$706 MILLION DOLLARS
Two imperfect Oregon lawyers. Comstock and De Muniz. In control of all that money.
Just to show you how all this works consider this:
The Marion County Bar Association has awarded Sean E. Armstrong the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. He received the award for his many hours of service to individuals in the area of Family Law. Nominated attorneys are submitted to Marion Polk Legal Aid Services, who then determines the award recipient. Mr. Armstrong, a shareholder in the firm, is an established Divorce and Family Law attorney.
So, Mark Comstock is on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Services of Oregon. He arranges for the local Legal Services office, Marion---------to pick his law associate, Sean Armstrong, to get the award dispensed by Marion County Legal Aid corporation, Mark Comstock's other corporation beside his law office. Soon Mark will be advising the Oregon Law Commission NOT to require a fine lawyer like Sean to be elected by Oregon citizens; but rather Sean should be appointed to a judgeship by fine lawyers in the Oligarchy ......like Mark.