State v. Brown

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 07-15-2015
  • Case #: A155738
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A trial court’s judgment assessing fees for court-appointed attorney services must be supported with evidence in the record that the defendant “is or may be” able to pay the fees.

Defendant was convicted of one count of identity theft and was defended at trial by court-appointed attorney. At sentencing, after a brief discussion with Defendant’s attorney about billing, the trial court ordered that Defendant pay $600 in attorney fees. Defendant appealed the portion of the judgment ordering that Defendant pay attorney fees, arguing that the trial court failed to show that Defendant could or may be able to pay the attorney fee. On appeal, the State conceded that the error was plain, but argued that Defendant invited the error, and it was therefore not reversible. The Court agreed that the error was plain, and determined that the record did not support a finding that Defendant had invited the error. The Court held that the trial court had failed to show that Defendant had the ability to pay the attorney fee, and therefore had committed reversible error. Order that Defendant pay attorney fees reversed, otherwise affirmed.

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