Gordon v. Board of Parole

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-22-2014
  • Case #: A146845
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, C.J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; and Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In 1977 Oregon adopted a "matrix" standard in place of the former "discretionary" system which eventually gave rise to a new development for board review. Under the new system, the board could only consider the current psychological condition rather than the entire record. To determine what standard to use, a dispositive issue is when the inmate elected to enroll in the system.

In 1975, Petitioner raped and brutally murdered a mother in front of her children. Two years after the murder, the Oregon Legislature adopted a "matrix" standard in place of the "discretionary" system. Offenders who were incarcerated under the old system could elect into the new matrix system. In determining which standard to use, the Court previously held that the administrative rules at the time of election into the system would govern. Petitioner, in 1984, elected into the system, but conflicting records from 1985 suggest he was under the old system. This is congruent with a later document--in 1988--wherein Petitioner again elected into the matrix system.

If the petitioner elected in 1984 to enter the new system, then the Court's previous rule in Weidner v. Armenakis, 154 Or App 12, vac'd and rem'd, 327 Or 317 (1998) applied. Under the Weidner standard, the board could consider all the evidence on the record. However, if elected in 1988, as Petitioner here argues, the board may only look to his present state of mind--all other portions of the record cannot be considered. Peek v. Thompson, 160 Or App 260, rev dismissed, 329 Or 553 (1999).

The Board then argued that even if applying the 1988 Peek standard, they yet did not err based on the facts and the submissions by the physicians, which suggested that even in his current state, he still poses a danger. The Court agreed, and therefore finding the exact date of election was unnecessary. Affirmed.

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