Cunio v. Board of Parole

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 11-01-2017
  • Case #: A155898
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, C.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 144.120(1)(a), the Board of Parole must conduct parole eligibility hearings for juvenile aggravated murderers, which entail reviewing “mitigating evidence submitted by an inmate during a prison term hearing even if that evidence is unrelated to the circumstances surrounding the criminal offenses." Calderon-Pacheco v. Board of Parole, 309 Or 454, 458-59 (1990).

Defendant sought review of an administrative decision upholding a 2012 parole board ruling, relating to a 1994 conviction for two-counts of aggravated murder, which required Defendant to serve an additional 280-months upon reaching his 2042 parole eligibility date. Defendant assigned error to the Board of Parole’s exclusion of evidence that "post-dated the crime and trial court proceedings." On appeal, Defendant argued that the Board disallowed possible mitigating evidence after the conviction, and that it miscalculated Defendant’s sentence using the matrix, which impermissibly sentenced him to remain incarcerated for life. In response, the Board argued that Defendant’s conduct while incarcerated was irrelevant in determining a projected parole release date because the mitigating circumstances would not have been a factor if the parole hearing was conducted immediately after the sentencing, and that the calculation of the prison sentence fell within the matrix framework. Under ORS 144.120(1)(a), the Board of Parole must conduct parole eligibility hearings for juvenile aggravated murderers, which entail reviewing “mitigating evidence submitted by an inmate during a prison term hearing even if that evidence is unrelated to the circumstances surrounding the criminal offenses." Calderon-Pacheco v. Board of Parole, 309 Or 454, 458-59 (1990). The Court of Appeals concluded that the parole board erroneously excluded Defendant’s evidence, as OAR 255 Division 35 does not limit relevant mitigating factors pertaining to the calculation of the sentencing matrix. Accordingly, the Court held that the parole board was required to recalculate Defendant's earliest possible parole date and declined to review his other assignments of error. Reversed and remanded.

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