State v. Sanderlin

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 02-24-2016
  • Case #: A156703
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Tookey, J.; & DeHoog, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, section 16 of the Oregon Constitution, disproportionate sentences are determined by analyzing a variety of factors, including the defendant’s diminished capacity. Consideration of medical history suggesting diminished capacity is appropriate in sentencing decisions.

Defendant appeals a judgment convicting him of first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse. He argues that the 300-month prison term the trial court sentenced him to is unconstitutionally disproportionate and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The trial court refused to consider medical evidence presented by Defendant that several strokes had left him brain damaged and less able to control his impulses. The proper test for determining whether a sentence is disproportionate is whether imposition of the sentence would shock the moral sense of reasonable people. Three factors are considered in that analysis: “(1) a comparison of the severity of the penalty and the gravity of the crime; (2) a comparison of the penalties imposed for other, related crimes; and (3) the criminal history of the defendant.” Courts may also consider the specific facts of the case and defendant’s diminished capacity. The trial court erred when it stated it was unable to consider Defendant’s medical history. Vacated and remanded for resentencing.

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