State v. Clements

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-20-2014
  • Case #: A143970
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; En Banc
  • Full Text Opinion

Where a criminal defendant agreed to a plea deal, but the State's sentencing recommendation was denied and the criminal defendant then fled for many years, what is the trial court bound to. Here, the defendant asserts three assignments of error.

Defendant was convicted of sex crimes during the early nineties. In 2000, he plead guilty, but after the trial court decided not to honor the plead for sentence, Defendant escaped before sentencing. Defendant was arrested eight years later. The trial court refused to let him withdraw his guilty plea and refused to honor any prior plea agreement that he had. Accordingly, he was sentenced to nearly sixteen years in prison. On appeal, Defendant raised three assignments of error: (1) the trial court's denial of his motion to postpone sentencing; (2) the trial court’s refusal to allow Defendant to withdraw his guilty plea; and (3) the trial court's failure to enforce the original plea agreement. The State moved to dismiss under ORS 138.050(1), as well as the former-fugitive doctrine. The Court held that ORS 138.222 applies where felony sentences occur. For the same reasons, Defendant's third assignment of error is appealable because the challenge is based on the sentence. Under the same statute, the first assignment is not reviewable since that statute is confined to sentencing only and this issue was regarding the postponement. Thus, ORS 138.040 and 138.050 are employed where the appeal is not based on the actual sentencing. As for the former-fugitive doctrine, the Court concluded that it was inapplicable. For the third assignment, however, the Court concluded that it was in fact reviewable under ORS 138.222(4)(a). However, Defendant's argument that it was essentially a contract forced this assignment of error to fail on its merits as Defendant's part of the bargain was to make the predetermined appearance for sentencing. His failure to do so invalidated the agreement. As for the second assignment, the Court held, because it was an assignment of error based on his conviction, it held no jurisdiction. Appeal dismissed as to the Defendant's second assignment of error; otherwise, affirmed.

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