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Category: Property crimes

Q. What is the Measure 57? Are the Mandatory Sentences Really Mandatory?

In 1996 the Oregon Legislature enacted the Repeat Property Offender’s Act (“REPO”) which required prison sentences for people who were convicted of property crimes and who had a prior record of property crime convictions. The prior convictions become “predicate convictions” which initially triggered mandatory sentences of 13 and 18 months, depending on the seriousness of the new property offense. If a person is charged with multiple property offenses, even in the same Indictment, the person can become eligible for a REPO sentence in the course of a single sentencing. REPO sentence are mandatory, but a person can argue for probation in some circumstances.

In 2009, the voters in Oregon passed Measure 57, which made substantial changes to REPO. Most importantly, Measure 57 increased the mandatory sentences to18 or 24 months and restricted the availability of probation for people who had previously avoided a mandatory REPO sentence with probation.

Even though the harsh changes of Measure 57 to the REPO statute are now in effect, there are ways of negotiating non-prison resolutions to REPO cases. The key to getting a non-mandatory sentence is careful preparation and presentation of evidence in mitigation.

 

Oregon Supreme Court Lifts Limits on Prosecutorial Discretion

Portland Property Crimes Attorneys should take note of a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision which makes a significant change in Oregon Law.

By way of background, in 1982 the Oregon Supreme Court issued its opinion in buy phentermine pills uk State v. Freeland, a case which set clear limits on prosecutorial discretion.  In http://www.rajtent.com/images/prod/lol670/ buy real adipex online 2014 Freeland, a district attorney charged a person with a crime by taking the case to grand jury, rather than allowing him a preliminary hearing which would have occurred in open court.  Mr. Freeland argued that the district attorney had no coherent policy over which cases were taken to grand jury and which went to preliminary hearing, leaving the prosecutor with unfettered discretion.  The Oregon Supreme Court agreed and found that such decisions must be made in accord with a systematic, coherent policy, in violations of the “privileges and immunities clause” of Article 1, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution.

This rule limiting prosecutorial discretion has remained in place for 31 years.

In September of 2013 the Oregon Supreme Court revisited the http://www.rajtent.com/images/prod/lol363/ phentermine without a prescription canadian Freeland decision in State v. Savastano.  In Savastano, the defendant challenged a prosecutor’s standardless practice of “aggregating” multiple thefts into a Aggravated Theft charges.  Oregon law does allow a prosecutor to take multiple incidents of theft against a single victim that occur over a 180 day period into an Aggravated Theft charge.  Ms. Savastano was accused of committing multiple thefts from her employer over an extended period of time.  The prosecutor who charged her had no policy governing the choice of which thefts to aggregate, which time periods to choose or whether to aggregate the thefts at all.  Savastano argued that, under Freeland, the prosecutor was required to have a systematic and coherent policy in making such decisions.  The Court of Appeals, citing Freeland, agreed.

The Oregon Supreme Court accepted review of the case.  In their opinion in State v. Savastano, the Supreme Court decided to throw out the Freeland rule.  The Supreme Court sometimes modifies or reverses its previous decisions.  The Court is hesitant to do so, and tries to follow the rule of stare decisis which is a rule that sets a preference on following the rule in previous decisions, rather than constantly changing the law and causing confusion.  In Savastano, the Court found that the requirement of a “coherent and systematic policy” was really never required by Article 1, Section 20 and that Freeland’s holding to the contrary was a mistake.

Of course, the Oregon Supreme Court has the last word in terms of determining what the Oregon Constitution means.  Their justification for abandoning the Freeland rule was thorough and well reasoned.  Still, as an Oregon Property Crimes Lawyer I am still left to worry about prosecutorial decisions that are not based on sound policies and that are left to individual prosecutors.  Regardless of this ruling, we are still able to negotiate cases with district attorney’s and argue for reduced sentences with Judges, which is one of our firms strengths.