State v Smith

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 04-20-2016
  • Case #: A149009
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton S.J. for the Court; Duncan P.J., DeVore J., and Haselton S.J.

Elevating a public indecency misdemeanor to a felony and imposing a life sentence for two prior sexual attempt crimes is not an unconstitutional sentence.

Defendant appealed his public indecency felony conviction under ORS 163.465(2)(b), and his life imprisonment sentence without possibility of release or parole under ORS 137.719(1). On appeal, defendant claimed that the trial court erred by convicting him for felony public indecency because his prior attempted first-degree sexual abuse conviction in 2005 and attempted first-degree rape in 1986 were insufficient to raise the offense to a felony from a misdemeanor under ORS 163.465 since they involved attempt crimes. Defendant also claimed that the life sentence was impermissible under Article I, section 16, of the Oregon Constitution and the Eighth Amendment to the Federal constitution because defendant claimed the crime was "relatively inoffensive," equal or more serious penalties existed, and a minor and the use of force were not involved. For the first claim, the defendant’s interpretation of the statute was “not reasonably in dispute.” The court also found no constitutional violation because defendant's crime “shocks the moral sense of reasonable persons.” Affirmed.

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