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State v. Cloutier

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-22-2011
Case #: S059039
Landau, J. for the Court, En Banc
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/S059039.pdf

Criminal Law: Under ORS 138.050, a defendant who entered a no contest plea is unable to appeal the judgment, unless it is “unconstitutionally cruel and unusual” or “exceeds the maximum allowable by law,” with the maximum referring to the maximum amount allowable to sentence.

Defendant pled no contest to one count of misdemeanor DUII and entered a DUII diversion program. He failed to complete the program, leading the court to enter a judgment of conviction and impose a fine of $1,100, while the mandatory minimum fine is $1,000. Defendant contended that his fine was unconstitutional, because the court claimed that the increase was because he originally pled no contest. He also claimed that, because his sentence was inconsistent with statutory sentencing requirements, it exceeded the maximum allowable by law. Under ORS 138.050, a defendant that pled no contest may appeal a judgment only when it “exceeds the maximum allowable by law” or “is unconstitutionally cruel or unusual.” The Court determined that defendant’s textual reading of the statute was not “wholly implausible.” However, after looking at the context and legislative history, the Court determined that defendant’s reading was incorrect. The Court found that defendant’s contention did not have significant merit. Reversed and remanded.