State v.Sokell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 09-22-2016
  • Case #: S063607
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of evaluating of as-applied proportionality challenges to sentences imposed pursuant to ORS 137.719(1), there are three factors: (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.

Defendant sought review of a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, imposed pursuant to ORS 137.719(1), for a conviction for first-degree sexual abuse. Defendant argued that, as applied to his circumstances, the sentence is unconstitutionally disproportionate under Article I, section 16, of the Oregon Constitution, which provides in part that “all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.” There are three factors for evaluating of as-applied proportionality challenges to sentences imposed pursuant to ORS 137.719(1): (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. State v. Rodriguez/Buck, 347 Or 46, 217 P.3d 659 (2009). Pursuant a recidivist statute—such as ORS 137.719(1)—The first and third factors are considered together when the challenged sentence is imposed. State v. Althouse, 359 Or 668 (Or. 2016). The Court held “in light of the circumstances of defendant’s current offense and his history of committing similar offenses against other young children, . . . the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole that the trial court imposed pursuant to ORS 137.719(1) is not disproportionate under Article I, section 16. Affirmed.

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