Engweiler v. Persson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 12-12-2013
  • Case #: S060793
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J.; En Banc

ORS 421.121 permits reduction of terms of incarceration by earned-time credits; ORS 144.125 requires prerelease functions prior to entitlement to habeas corpus relief.

Conrad R. Engweiler, an inmate at the Oregon State Prison, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Engweiler was convicted of aggravated murder as a juvenile in 1990. He argued that he had earned sentence reduction credits under ORS 421.121, and, therefore, contrary to his release date of 2018 set by the Board of Parole and Post-Prison, his release date had actually already passed. As a consequence, he argued, his continued incarceration is unlawful. Engweiler also challenged certain Department of Corrections (DOC) rules relating to the granting of earned-time sentence reductions, arguing that, to the extent that those rules pertaining to the granting of earned-time sentence reductions are construed to exclude him from eligibility for such reductions, they are invalid. The Supreme Court dismissed both petitions. It examined history of litigation by Engweiler challenging the lawfulness of his sentence, which included six prior decisions of the Supreme Court, one of which, had already interpreted the statute at issue, ORS 421.121. Looking to its prior decisions, as well as the text, context, and legislative history of ORS 421.121, the Court held that Engweiler was entitled to have his term of incarceration reduced by earned-time credits under ORS 421.121, but that Engweiler was not entitled to habeas corpus relief because the Board of Parole had not yet performed its prerelease functions under ORS 144.125. Petition for writ of habeas corpus dismissed; rule challenge dismissed.

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