State v. Bell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 07-09-2014
  • Case #: A149112
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.

The state can extend a defendant's probation sentence for failure to make payments conditional to the probation, regardless of the reason for the failure to pay.

Defendant appealed his extended probation sentence arguing the state violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by failing to demonstrate that his failure to pay fines and restitution resulted from circumstances beyond his control. Defendant was convicted of assault and sentenced to probation under the condition that he pays restitution, fines, and assessments. After failing to make these payments, a hearing was held for Defendant to show cause for his violation of the probation conditions. The state extended Defendant’s probation as a result of the violation. Defendant appealed, arguing that the state failed to prove that his failure to make payments was willful and not a result of his poverty. Defendant relies on Bearden v. Georgia, 461 US 660 (1983), where the Supreme Court held that a state can not revoke probation and imprison a defendant for failure to make payments conditional to the probation unless the defendant had not made sufficient efforts to pay or alternative forms of punishment were not possible. The Court affirmed, holding that Bearden does not apply where the violation of the probation results in a punishment less serious than imprisonment. Affirmed.

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