State v. Sokell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 09-16-2015
  • Case #: A156133
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: For the Court Lagesen, J.; Ortega, P.J.; and Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 181.805, sexual abuse is defined as “sexual abuse in any degree” as well as “any attempt to commit” sexual abuse in any degree. A sentence’s duration is not “proportioned to the offense” when the length of the sentence would shock the moral sense of a reasonable person under the circumstances.

Defendant appealed the trial courts sentencing determination after his conviction of first-degree sexual abuse. Defendant specified three errors made by the trial court. First, the court erred in finding his previous convictions of attempted first-degree sexual abuse was not a qualifying predicate crime under ORS 137.719. Second, the trial court failed to find compelling reasons to depart from the life sentence requirement of ORS 137.719. Third, the sentencing violated the Oregon Constitution’s proportionality provision. The Court quickly dismissed Defendant’s first assignment of error by stating that because the statute describes a sex crime as “sexual abuse in any degree” including any attempt was included in ORS 137.719. Defendant’s second assignment of error was also dismissed because the court determined the trial record did not compel a finding that there was compelling reasons to depart from the presumptive sentence. Finally the court also dismissed Defendant’s third assignment of error by concluding that Defendant’s sentence did not “shock the moral sense” as required by the proportionality provision due to his age. The Court reasoned that because Defendant was 71 years old the otherwise applicable Measure 11 sentence of 75 months, could potentially be a life sentence. Affirmed.

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