State v. Davidson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: A150292
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe J. for the Court; Hadlock, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Two consecutive, presumptive "true life" sentences imposed under ORS 137.719(1) against a recidivist defendant violates Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution, when that defendant has five convictions of public indecency for public masturbation without any sexually violent behavior or conduct.

Defendant appealed the trial court's conviction sentencing him to two consecutive sentences of life in prison without possibility of parole ("true life" sentence), arguing that such a harsh sentence violates Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution, which requires proportional penalties based on the committed offense. Defendant had been convicted three times of public indecency for public masturbation, and was again convicted for two more counts of public indecency for public masturbation. Under ORS 137.719(1), a defendant convicted of four public indecency offenses is subject to a presumptive life sentence. Defendant appealed the sentence, and argued that the punishment was severely disproportionate to the crime. The Court determined that, despite Defendant's recidivist history of public masturbation, none of Defendant's convictions involved forcible compulsion, sexual violence, or other sexual behavior comparable to other recidivist sex crimes mandating a "true life" sentence. Furthermore, upon comparison with other crimes worthy of a presumptive "true life" sentence, five convictions of public masturbation resulting in such a sentence is unconstitutionally disproportionate based on the nature of the crime. Reversed and remanded for resentencing.

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