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State v. Washington

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-05-2011
Case #: A142887
Brewer, C.J. for the Court; & Edmunds, S.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A142887.pdf

Constitutional Law: Prosecutorial discretion violates the Oregon Constitution when such decisions are made without coherent systematic policy or criteria, or when there exists a lack of consistent enforcement.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to reduce his charge from a Class C felony to a Class A misdemeanor. Under ORS 161.570(2), a district attorney may, as permitted under ORS 161.570(6), reduce a Class C felony charge to a Class A misdemeanor. However, defendant argued that the use of the Portland Police Bureau’s Neighborhood Livability Crime Enforcement Program’s master list (NLCEP) and a defendant’s prior criminal history as exclusionary criteria for such a reduction, violated the Equal Privilege and Immunities Clause, of the Oregon Constitution, and the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The Court of Appeals held that prosecutorial discretion violates the Oregon Constitution when such decisions are made without coherent systematic policy or criteria, or when there exists a lack of consistent enforcement. In this case, defendant’s placement on the NLCEP list was based upon nondiscriminatory factors, such as geography and prior arrest history. Moreover, its application and prior criminal history have not been administered in a “standard-less” or ad hoc manner. Affirmed.