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John A. Wittmayer

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John A. Wittmayer
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Current Court Information:
Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oregon
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   Gov. John Kitzhaber
Active:   1996-2021
Past post:   District judge, Multnomah County
Past term:   1996-1998
Past chief 2:   Pro tempore circuit judge, Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties
Past term 2:   1992-1996
Personal History
Undergraduate:   Portland State University, 1969
Law School:   Lewis & Clark Law School, 1973
Military service:   Army National Guard and Army Reserves
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Circuit Court, 4th District
Position:  Position 36
State:  Oregon
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  5/20/2014
Primary vote:  98.5%ApprovedA
Election vote:  ApprovedA

John A. Wittmayer is a judge for the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon. The court has jurisdiction over Multnomah County and is located within the 4th Judicial District. Wittmayer was appointed to the district court bench by Governor John Kitzhaber and was subsequently elected in 1996. In 1998, when the district and circuit courts were merged, Wittmayer became a circuit judge for the Multnomah County Circuit Court.[1] He was re-elected to the court in 2002 and re-elected in 2014 for a term that expires on January 3, 2021.[2][3][4][5]



See also: Oregon judicial elections, 2014
Wittmayer ran for re-election to the Oregon Circuit Court, 4th Judicial District.
Primary: He was elected without opposition in the primary on May 20, 2014.


Wittmayer received his undergraduate degree in political science from Portland State University in 1969 and his J.D. from the Lewis & Clark Law School in 1973.[2]


Between college and law school, Wittmayer worked as a deputy sheriff for Multnomah County. He also worked during college and law school in various positions, including as a parking attendant, janitor, health department aide, and security guard.[2]

After law school, Wittmayer served as a trial attorney for one year with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. as part of the Honors Attorney program.[2][1] In that capacity, he prosecuted bribery and conflict of interest cases. He then returned to Portland, Oregon, where he worked in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for three years. In 1977, Wittmayer started a private law practice with Bill Gaylord and Rich Thomas (Gaylord, Thomas, & Wittmayer) focusing on personal injury litigation, criminal defense, and family law. In 1981, he left that firm to join Mitchell, Lang & Smith.[2] He remained there until his appointment to the bench in 1996.[1] He also served as an arbitrator for Multnomah County Courts from 1984 to 1996.[6]

Wittmayer has also served as a pro tempore circuit judge for Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties from 1992 to 1996.[6] He served as a district judge for Multnomah County from 1996 to 1998 and became a circuit judge in 1998 after the merger of the circuit and district courts.[1]

As a judge, Wittmayer has presided over suits involving civil litigation, family law, probate law, and criminal matters. He is also a member of the Motion Panel handling general civil motions.[2]

Wittmayer also served in the U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves from 1969 to 1975.[6]

Awards and associations

  • Member, Oregon State Bar
  • Oregon State Bar Law-Related Education Committee
  • Member, Multnomah Bar Association
  • Multnomah Bar Professionalism Committee
  • Member, Bench-Bar Professionalism Commission
  • Former member, Washington State Bar [1]
  • Board of trustees, Willamette University
  • Former chair of the Board of Trustees, Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • Former board member, FISH Emergency Services, Inc.
  • Former volunteer attorney, St. Andrew Legal Clinic
  • Former volunteer attorney, Habitat for Humanity
  • Former volunteer attorney, American Civil Liberties Union [2][1]

Notable cases

Wittmayer has presided over several cases that have garnered media attention. He presided over peace activist Joe Walsh's lawsuit against the Portland Police in which Walsh alleged the police had discriminated against him based on his political beliefs. The lawsuit stemmed from Walsh's arrest in 2009 while protesting a dinner by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.[7] He also presided over a case concerning sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts.[8]

See also

External links


OregonOregon Supreme CourtOregon Court of AppealsOregon Circuit CourtsOregon Tax CourtOregon County CourtsOregon Justice CourtsOregon Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of OregonUnited States bankruptcy court, District of OregonUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitOregon countiesOregon judicial newsOregon judicial electionsJudicial selection in OregonOregonTemplate.jpg