Westfall v. Oregon Department of Corrections

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-08-2014
  • Case #: A140772
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; & Duncan, J.

Arguments not presented to the trial court in the first instance cannot be raised on appeal.

Westfall was sentenced to a 20 month consecutive sentence for second degree escape in Marion County after he escaped custody and was recaptured in July 2001. Westfall also had several sequential and concurrent sentences in Josephine County, running concurrently with the Marion County sentence. In 2005, the Marion County escape sentence was vacated and remanded. Then, defendant, the Department of Corrections (the department), had to recalculate the remaining sentence, and determine which sentence would trigger Westfall's 26 month consecutive sentence. Westfall brought a wrongful imprisonment claim against the department. The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the false imprisonment claim. Westfall argued that the Josephine County Circuit Court had not intended the sentences to run consecutively to the sentences issued that day. Westfall’s argument was that the department’s prison-term analysis (PTA) should have concluded that there was a problem with the calculation of plaintiff’s release date, and alerted a supervisor or the sentencing court of the problem. Westfall also presented an argument that their case was exempt from discretionary immunity. The department argued Westfall did not present their legal theory to preserve their argument for appeal on the first instance. The department argued that their PTA was a policy choice protected under discretionary immunity. The Court held that Westfall did not preserve his argument for appeal, and affirmed the decision of the lower court. Affirmed.

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