Edwards v. Board of Parole

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 07-08-2015
  • Case #: A147268
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P. J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 144.125(3), Parole Board may delay a prisoner's release date upon a finding that a prisoner has a "present severe emotional disturbance," even if the statutorily required psychological evaluation found to the contrary, so long as the Board's decision was based on substantial evidence in the report.

Prisoner appeals decision of Parole Board to delay Prisoner's release for 24 months upon finding that Prisoner had a "present severe emotional disturbance" ("PSED"). ORS 144.125(3) provides that the Parole Board may delay the scheduled release of a prisoner if the prisoner has a PSED. When Prisoner was up for parole, the Board ordered a psychological report, which concluded that Prisoner was not suffering from a PSED. Board concluded the opposite, and deferred release due to a PSED. Prisoner argued on appeal that the statute and pertinent administrative rule require a finding of a PSED by psychological evaluation in order to allow the Board to defer release. The Court held that the determination of whether a prisoner has a PSED is legal rather than medical. Based on the wording of the statute, the Court determined that the legislature intended for the Board to ultimately decide whether a prisoner had a PSED. The Board was to make that determination upon consideration of the psychological report and other pertinent evidence in the record. A PSED can be found by the Board if they determine that the prisoner has (1) an emotional disorder that is (2) present, (3), severe, and (4) makes the prisoner a danger to the community. The Court held that the Board must rely on the psychological report to determine if the prisoner has an emotional disorder, but the Board is responsible for weighing the final three factors to decide whether that emotional disorder is a PSED. The Court found substantial evidence in the report to support the Board's finding. Affirmed.

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