Attorney General John Kroger will not run again because of his health.

The Democrat was elected in 2008 and would have been on the 2012 ballot. No one else has filed for the position to date.

In his statement today, Kroger said:?“I was recently diagnosed and am under the care of a physician at Oregon Health Sciences University hospital for a significant but not life-threatening medical condition. It will not interfere with my legal work or prevent me from completing my term, but I will need to reduce my hours, travel less and be careful about my health. After consulting with my doctor over the last two days, I have decided against campaigning again for statewide office.”

Kroger has been an advocate for consumers during his tenure. Most recently he supported Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis in his campaign to remove the drunk-driving cases from the Astoria Municipal Court.

Kroger has also been the target of critics, in part because of actions of those in his department.

He announced Monday that missing evidence that had allowed a man convicted of three murders to walk free has been found at the Oregon Department of Justice. 

Kroger said he has called for an investigation by state police into how four boxes of evidence from the trial of Philip Scott Cannon went missing, making it impossible for Polk County prosecutors to go forward with a new trial.

Cannon served 11 years on a life sentence for the 1998 murders of three people found shot in the head in a mobile home west of Salem. No murder weapon was found. 

After Cannon’s appeals were exhausted, the Department of Justice agreed in a negotiated settlement to allow him a new trial because the method used for analyzing bullets from the case was scientifically discredited, said Department of Justice spokesman Tony Green.

After prosecutors could not locate the evidence used in his trial, Cannon was allowed to go free.

He has since sued the Polk County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices and the Dallas Police Department in federal court, claiming they relied on flawed evidence and misused their official powers.

Kroger says the evidence, believed to have been destroyed, was located at the Trial Division of the Department of Justice, and is now secured in the department’s evidence room.

Green said he could not release details of how or where the evidence was located, but said Kroger learned of it Monday morning and immediately called for the investigation. Green said he did not know if the four boxes that were found comprised all of the missing evidence.

Polk County District Attorney Stan Butterfield said in a statement that he had made no decision on whether to go forward with a trial in what he cons8dered an open murder investigation.

“At this point I have more question than answers as to the future course of this case,” he said. “There are many possible implications involving this evidence. Only time and a careful review of the facts surrounding its disappearance and rediscovery will tell the story.”

An attorney representing Cannon did not immediately return a telephone call for comment. Cannon does not have a listed phone number.

State police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings confirmed they had received a request to investigate, and could release no further details.


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