The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute Terry Zinser. But the office now says it will take another look at the case.
PORTLAND, Oregon – The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said it plans to take a second look at a high-profile case involving a woman who walked into a home in Northeast Portland and sat on the empty bed of a 10-year-old last Monday.
The woman, later identified by authorities as Terry Zinser, was allowed into Kelsey Smith’s home. A home security video shows the woman walking into a child’s bedroom and curling up on the bed next to a pile of laundry.
Zinser stayed on the bed until Smith found her and yelled for the stranger to leave. Then Zinser got out of bed and went to leave, but not before throwing his ottoman on Smith. Then she is seen in a video as she walks out the front door.
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The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office initially chose not to prosecute Zinser. But the office now says it will take another look at the case.
As for why they initially chose not to pursue the charges, the DA office noted that what Zinser really needed was mental health treatment, not a prison term. But according to a statement, Zinser declined to participate in voluntary therapy — and they said involuntary treatment was not likely to happen.
“Based on recent federal court rulings and recent history with this defendant dismissing similar cases due to non-participation in treatment and the court’s inability to compel the defendant to participate in treatment, we had initial concerns about whether we could proceed with this case at this time, The DA office said in a statement sent to KGW.
This reasoning is consistent with the findings of the KGW investigation conducted last month into the Civil Compliance process. The standard of autonomic mental health treatment in Oregon is incredibly high, and patients with acute conditions often cannot or do not deal with less invasive forms of treatment.
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“The lack of mental health resources in our community is unacceptable when combined with the inability to compel unconvicted defendants to engage in available treatment options,” the DA office continued. “The current crisis in capacity at an Oregon hospital is putting the safety of our community, and the most vulnerable people in our community, at risk.”
According to the DA’s office, Zinser recently spent several months in an Oregon hospital, and the staff there have been unable to regain her ability to assist and assist a court-appointed attorney. She was then asked to engage in community mental health treatment, but she did not appear for an evaluation and left the treatment facility.
da office said. “Our Strategic Prosecution Unit is reviewing this case and previously dismissed cases to determine if we are able to proceed with the prosecution. Due to the ongoing process, the Department of Civil Defense and Civil Defense will not provide further comments on this case.”
Since 2018, Zinser has been convicted on criminal charges more than twenty times – primarily for theft, criminal trespass, burglary or harassment. The vast majority of these charges have been dropped by prosecutors or have been dismissed by judges without conviction, although the Clackamas County case as of June 2021 remains open pending a determination of its eligibility to proceed. A hearing on that decision was scheduled for Monday.