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Oregon Supreme Court, November 19, 2020

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by: Rankin Johnson • November 29, 2020 • no comments


Summarized by Rankin Johnson, OCDLA

ATTORNEY FEES - Ability to pay

Trial court erred by finding that defendant was unable to pay attorney fees but also ordering fees seized from security deposited by third party. Reversed.

The court did not decide whether security funds can be used to pay the defendant's obligations. Rather, the court explained that bail had once been presumed to belong to the defendant on whose behalf it was paid, but that presumption had been repealed. Lacking that presumption, or evidence that the person depositing bail intended to give it to the defendant, the existence of bail funds does not establish that the defendant is able to pay attorney fees. And, without a finding that the defendant was able to pay, the statute did not provide for imposition of attorney fees.

State v. Morales 367 Or 222 (November 19, 2020) (Balmer) (Hood River County, Ostrye)