Oregon Supreme Court, October 7, 2021
Summarized by Rankin Johnson, OCDLA
DEATH PENALTY - Retroactivity
Following statutory changes, a conviction for what was formerly death-penalty-eligible murder no longer carries the death penalty. Reversed.
The court explained that the death penalty is reserved for a narrow category of the most serious crimes. By reclassifying defendant's conduct as non-death-penalty murder, the legislature determined that defendant's conduct no longer qualified. The court relied on both the Eighth Amendment and Art I, sec 16 to hold that a death sentence for conduct legislatively determined not to warrant one would be cruel and unusual and disproportionate.
The court remanded for resentencing under the current sentencing scheme.
State v. Bartol 368 Or 598 (September 30, 2021) (Duncan) (Marion County, Prall)