John A. Wittmayer
John A. Wittmayer is a judge on 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 bench by Governor John Kitzhaber and subsequently elected in 1996. He was re-elected in 2002.
Early life and Education
Wittmayer was born in Portland, OR and went to grade school in Springfield and Coos Bay, then graduated from Madison High School in Portland in 1965. Wittmayer earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Portland State University in 1969. In 1970, he became a member of the first day-school class at Lewis & Clark Law School in its new location on Terwilliger Boulevard in Portland, OR. He graduated from law school in 1973.
Wittmayer served in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves from 1969 to 1975.
Between college and law school, Wittmayer worked as a Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff. He also worked during college and law school in various positions, including as a parking attendant, janitor, health department aide, and security guard.
After law school, Wittmayer worked 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. In that capacity, he prosecuted bribery and conflict of interest cases. He then returned to Portland, OR, where he worked in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office for three years. Then, in 1977 he started a private firm 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. He remained there until his appointment to the bench in 1996. He also served as an arbitrator for Multnomah County Courts from 1984 to 1996.
As an attorney, Wittmayer was a member of both the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel because; at that point, it was possible to belong to both.
Wittmayer was Circuit Judge, Pro Tempore, for Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties from 1992 to 1996. He was District Judge for Multnomah County from 1996 to 1998 and became Circuit Judge in 1998 after the merger of the Circuit Court and District Court.
As a judge, Wittmayer has worked in civil litigation, family law, and probate matters, and hears criminal matters on a regular basis. He is also a member of the Motion Panel handling general civil motions.
Wittmayer is a member of the Oregon State Bar and the Multnomah Bar Association. He was formerly a member of the Washington State Bar, but resigned upon becoming a judge. He is also admitted in the United States District Courts in Oregon and Washington (Western and Eastern Districts), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Wittmayer's personal life focuses on family and on church and civic service. He is on the Board of Trustees of Willamette University, has chaired the Board of Trustees of the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church, and has been on the board of FISH Emergency Services, Inc., a non-profit social service agency. He also served as a volunteer attorney for St. Andrew Legal Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Civil Liberties Union prior to joining the bench. He has been a member of the Oregon State Bar Law-Related Education Committee, the Multnomah Bar Professionalism Committee, and the Bench-Bar Professionalism Commission.
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 when Walsh was arrested in 2009 while protesting a dinner by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He also presided over a case concerning sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts.
Notable Statements and Writings
Wittmayer does not like to be called "judge" when he is not in the courthouse or on the bench. He has authored a “Tips From the Bench” column in the Multnomah Lawyer since September 2004. He has the following advice for lawyers: “Be on time; be prepared; read and follow the rules.”
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Judge Wittmayer Biography on courts.oregon.gov
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 John A. Wittmayer Biography on the Multnomah Bar Association website
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wittmayer Biography on sos.state.or.us
- ↑ "Judge Rules for the Police, Against Peace Activist Joe Walsh in AIPAC Case" Willamette Week Newspaper & wweek.com, August 19th, 2010
- ↑ "Judge Orders Release Of Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Files" Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 18, 2010