State v. Williams

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-10-2015
  • Case #: A154616
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J.; Nakamoto, J.; and Egan, J. Per Curiam.
  • Full Text Opinion

Trial court plainly erred when it failed to determine whether Defendant was capable of paying attorney's fees before imposing fees.

Defendant appealed conviction for fourth-degree assault, menacing, and interference with making a report. Defendant was sentenced to five years in prison and two years of post-prison supervision. The trial court additionally imposed $550 in attorney’s fees. On appeal, Defendant claimed that the trial court plainly erred when it assigned attorney’s fees without consideration to his ability to pay those fees. The State argued that the court plainly erred but asserted that, because it was demonstrated during trial that Defendant is able-bodied, he was therefore able to work to pay those fees. The Court held that the trial court plainly erred when it did not evaluate whether Defendant was able to pay attorney’s fees, and rejected the State’s argument based on Defendant’s physical ability to work. Because Defendant was to serve five years in prison, the Court found that Defendant was significantly burdened enough that he may not be able to pay attorney’s fees. Reversed in regard to court-appointed attorney’s fees; otherwise affirmed.

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