State v. Wheeler

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 02-04-2015
  • Case #: A153578
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J..
  • Full Text Opinion

Under both ORS 151.505(3) and 161.665(4), a court may not order a convicted criminal defendant to pay his court-appointed attorney fees, unless the defendant can or may be able to pay them.

Defendant was convicted of murder, abuse of a corpse, arson, and criminal mistreatment. The trial court, in sentencing him, imposed a fine of $24,327, a payment of $18,000 in court-appointed attorney fees, and $18,000 in "indigent contribution." On appeal, while the issues were not properly preserved, the Court nevertheless reviewed these penalties for error of law (pursuant by ORAP 5.45(1) which authorizes courts to review for errors of law, despite not being preserved). The trial court's imposition of the fines for court appointed attorney fees and indigent contributions was in violation of ORS 151.505(3) and ORS 161.665(4). As for the fine for the felony crime, under ORS 161.645, there is no condition that Defendant be able to pay. Portion of judgment requiring defendant to pay court-appointed attorney fees and indigent contribution reversed; otherwise affirmed.

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