Taylor v. Peters

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 10-20-2016
  • Case #: S063763
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Walters, J., for the Court; en banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Western Interstate Corrections Compact, ORS 421.284, an inmate incarcerated outside of Oregon may bring a petition for habeas corpus in Oregon, and the director of the Department of Corrections is the appropriate defendant for those claims.

Petitioner Taylor appealed the trial court’s dismissal, with prejudice, of his petition for habeas corpus under ORS 34.310 that named the director of the Department of Corrections (Peters) as the defendant. Petitioner argued, both before the circuit court and again on appeal and review, that Director Peters violated Petitioner’s constitutional rights by transferring him to prison in Colorado under the Western Interstate Corrections Compact (WICC), ORS 421.284, where Petitioner alleged he is subject to living conditions hazardous to his health. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the circuit court, concluding that Petitioner’s allegations of hazardous living conditions constituted a deprivation of a constitutional right, and further, that Petitioner could bring a habeas claim even though he was incarcerated in Colorado. The issues before the Court on review were whether, under the WICC a petitioner who is not incarcerated in Oregon may bring a habeas claim in Oregon courts, whether Petitioner alleged cognizable constitutional claims, and whether Director Peters is properly named as the defendant. The Court concluded that: (1) inmates incarcerated outside of Oregon as the result of transfer under the WICC are permitted to file claims for habeas corpus in Oregon; (2) petitioner alleged cognizable constitutional violations; and (3) the Director of the ODOC is the proper defendant in petitioner’s habeas petitions. The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. 

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