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Judge ruling: Troutdale must return guns to Padgett

Following a Wednesday Multnomah County Circuit Court hearing, the city of Troutdale has 45 days to prove its necessary to keep Lucas Padgett's rifle as evidence, or return it.

Judge Michael Greenlick made the ruling after Padgett filed a motion to release evidence last month. The Daniel Defense Armament Carbine rifle was confiscated along with eight 30-round Magpul magazines, one “plate carrier” vest and a U.S. Army issued “laundry bag.”

The rifle was used in the June 2014 shooting at Reynolds High School by Padgett's brother, 15-year-old Jared Padgett, who shot and killed student Emilio Hoffman and wounded a teacher before killing himself.

Lucas Padgett had argued that the items belong to him and should be returned.

“I have never been charged with any offense connected herewith,” Padgett said in his motion. “I am entitled to their return and there is no legal impediment to my possession of said property.”

The city of Troutdale issued a swift response to the motion Sept. 10, adamant that the items would not be returned because they are evidence, although it appears the case is essentially closed.

“Before addressing each of the factors separately, the fact remains that the materials sought by Padgett were seized at a horrific crime scene as part of a criminal investigation involving the shooting deaths of two persons, and remain as evidence in that matter for which the statutes of limitation have not yet expired,” the city’s response reads. “That there may or may not be immediate plans to charge any person in connection with the deaths of either of the deceased young men is irrelevant. So long as it remains a possibility that the materials that are sought for release may be needed for evidentiary purposes to support a future criminal charge, neither the materials’ evidentiary value nor the state’s obligation to preserve such evidence is diminished.”

Judge Greenlick said the rifle and evidence cannot be held on the mere possibility that the Padgett family might be charged. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office announced back in November 2014 that it would not pursue criminal charged against Lucas Padgett or the family.

"The thought of the weapons that ... were used to commit that horrific crime going back into the community is objectionable, in sort of a general moral outrage sense. For sure, I get that," the Oregonian quoted Greenlick as saying. "But unless there is a law prohibiting it, then the law as I read it requires that the property be returned. We can't just make up the law.”

The judge is reported as saying he does not think any arguments the city makes will be persuasive, as there is no indication of a criminal case pending.

Troutdale City Attorney Ed Trompke declined to comment on behalf of the city at this time.



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