State v. Graham

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 11-04-2015
  • Case #: A156018
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J.; DeVore, J.; & Flynn, J. Per Curiam.
  • Full Text Opinion

A court may not impose attorney fees on a criminal defendant without discussion of the defendant's ability to pay those fees.

Defendant was convicted of four counts of sexual abuse. Because he had a previous sexual assault conviction, Defendant was sentenced to life in prison without parole and ordered to pay $8,000 in attorney fees. Defendant appealed, claiming that the trial court plainly erred when it imposed an “unconstitutionally disproportionate” sentence and when it imposed the attorney fees. The Oregon Court of Appeals rejected the first challenge without discussion. Regarding the second challenge, the state conceded that the trial court erred. The Court held that the trial court erred when imposing attorney fees without discussion of Defendant’s ability to pay those fees. Portion of judgment requiring Defendant to pay attorney fees reversed; otherwise affirmed.

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