Kinkel v. Persson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 02-10-2016
  • Case #: A155449
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J., for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; and Tookey, J.

ORS 138.550 bars subsequent petitions for post-conviction relief if the grounds on which relief is requested could have been reasonably argued in a previous petition.

Petitioner convicted on multiple murder and attempted murder charges when he was 15 years old. Petitioner sentenced to approximately 112 years in prison. In 2003, Petitioner petitioned for post-conviction relief, and was denied. In the interim, the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), which held that sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison violates the Eighth Amendment. In 2013, Petitioner filed a second petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause. Both parties filed for summary judgment. Among other arguments, the superintendent of the Oregon State Correctional Institution argued that ORS 138.550 bars petitions for relief on grounds that could have been made in a prior petition. The trial court granted the superintendent summary judgment and dismissed the petition. Petitioner appealed the judgment, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his petition, and that procedural barriers were inapplicable to the case. This Court held that under its understanding of the legislative history of ORS 138.550, the statute was meant to ensure that when a petitioner files a petition for relief, they are naming all grounds on which relief may be granted. The court further held that Petitioner could have reasonably made his Eighth Amendment claim in his first petition for relief, despite the fact that Miller had not yet been decided in 2003. Judgment affirmed.

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