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Defendant Steven Toth was the manager of a strip club in the Beaverton area. Victor Moreno-Hernandez brought S, a thirteen-year-old girl, to defendant’s strip club, where defendant and Moreno-Hernandez agreed that S would work at the club. While working at the strip club, S engaged in prostitution and the two men split the proceeds. In addition, defendant had sex with S. Ultimately, S was brought into the legal custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Defendant pleaded guilty to three counts relating to S: second-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse, and compelling prostitution. He also pleaded guilty to a separate promoting prostitution charge that did not involve S. At sentencing, the trial court indicated that it was interested in imposing a compensatory fine and inquired into whether that was an available option in this case. The prosecutor stated that S's psychological counseling while in DHS custody resulted in economic damages; the trial court sentenced defendant to pay $150,000 as a compensatory fine for S's care. He appealed the imposition of the fine. The Court of Appeals reasoned that because “‘[t]he record contains no evidence that [the victim] ever incurred any objectively verifiable economic obligation for the treatment and, therefore, ever suffered any economic damages as a result of defendant’s crimes’” a remand was unnecessary. The Oregon Supreme Court concurred the trial court erred in imposing the compensatory fine, but concluded the matter was appropriate for remand to the trial court: "[w]e do not decide here whether a compensatory fine directed to DHS would be appropriate on this record, but it is an option for the trial court to consider on remand." View "Oregon v. Toth" on Justia Law

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In 2012, defendant Victor Moreno-Hernandez, an adult man, met S, a thirteen-year-old girl. S moved in with defendant, and he had sex with her multiple times. He also supplied her with methamphetamine. Defendant introduced S to his eventual codefendant, Steven Toth, the manager of a strip club. Defendant and Toth agreed to have S work in the strip club, where she performed nude for customers and engaged in sexual acts with Toth and some of the club’s customers. Toth was paid for those acts of prostitution, and he split the proceeds with defendant. S ultimately left defendant and came into the legal custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS). After an investigation by law enforcement, defendant was charged with multiple crimes relating to his rape and sexual abuse of S. Defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree sodomy, two counts of second-degree unlawful sexual penetration, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of unlawful delivery of methamphetamine to a minor, and four counts of compelling prostitution. The trial court indicated that it was interested in imposing compensatory fines, as allowed by ORS 137.101(1), on those three compelling prostitution convictions. The issue defendant’s appeal raised for the Oregon Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the trial court properly sentenced defendant to pay three $50,000 compensatory fines. The Court arrived at the same outcome as the Court of Appeals- that it was error to impose the fine. However, in the Supreme Court’s view, “the legal error and the uncertainty as to what the trial court would have done had it approached sentencing as ORS 137.101 intended are reasons to remand.” The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Oregon v. Moreno-Hernandez" on Justia Law

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The juvenile court determined that mother was unfit and that it was improbable that child could be returned to mother’s care within a reasonable period of time, satisfying the requirements of ORS 419B.504. However, the court determined, the Department of Human Services had not established, as ORS 419B.500 required, that termination of mother’s parental rights was in child’s best interest. The court acknowledged that the department had proved that child had a need for permanency that could be met by terminating mother’s parental rights and permitting child’s foster parents, his maternal uncle and aunt, to adopt him. However, the court also found that child had an interest in maintaining his bond with his mother and her parents. The court suggested that child’s need for permanency could be satisfied by permitting his foster parents to serve as his permanent guardians and concluded that it was not in his best interest to terminate mother’s rights. Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition. In an en banc, split decision, the Court of Appeals determined that child’s pressing need for permanency could have been satisfied if he were “freed for adoption” and that, although naming child’s foster parents as his guardians might mitigate the effects of past disruptions, “leaving open the possibility of a return to mother creates its own instability” and was a “less-permanent” option that was not in child’s best interest. As the division in the Court of Appeals indicated, this was "a close case." The Oregon Supreme Court did not adopt the reasoning of the juvenile court in its entirety, it agreed with its conclusion that, given the particular facts presented here, it was in child’s best interest that his mother’s parental rights not be terminated. The Court of Appeals was reversed and the juvenile court affirmed. View "Dept. of Human Services v. T. M. D." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Defendant Michael Sperou was charged with first-degree unlawful penetration for alleged crimes committed against a girl (“SC”) who belonged to the church defendant led as pastor. Before trial, the State disclosed it would call SC and six other women as witnesses, all whom would testify as to having been sexually abused by defendant years earlier while they were young girls attending his church. Defendant denied any abuse occurred, and moved to preclude the witnesses’ testimony. He also moved to prohibit the use of “victim” at trial to describe SC or the other accusers. The trial court denied both motions; defendant was convicted on all charges. On appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, defendant argued the trial court erred in denying his motions. The Supreme Court concluded that while the trial court did not err in refusing to categorically prohibit the prosecutor from referring to SC as a “victim,” use of the term by the other accusers would amount to impermissible vouching, and the trial court should have granted defendant’s motion to preclude such references. The Supreme Court concluded the trial court’s error in that regard was not harmless, and required a remand. View "Oregon v. Sperou" on Justia Law

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Defendant Jorge Gutierrez-Medina was driving under the influence of intoxicants late at night when he struck another person who had walked onto the road in a dark area not marked for pedestrians. Defendant pled guilty to one count DUI, and one count of third-degree assault, but resisted the State’s request that he pay restitution for the victim’s full medical bills. Defendant urged the trial court to apply the civil doctrine of comparative fault to reduce the amount of restitution. The trial court refused defendant’s request and ordered him to pay the State’s requested restitution. The Oregon Supreme Court concurred with the outcome of the Court of Appeals’ review, only on different grounds. The Supreme Court concluded defendant’s conviction for third-degree assault established he was aware he was using a deadly or dangerous weapon in a manner that created a substantial risk of serious harm, and he consciously disregarded that risk. Therefore, defendant’s assault conviction established he acted with a culpable mental state for which comparative fault would not be available in a civil action. The Supreme Court also declined to address the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that ORS 137.106 precluded trial courts from reducing the amount of restitution when the victim was partly to blame for his injury. View "Oregon v. Gutierrez-Medina" on Justia Law

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The Oregon Supreme Court considered three separate petitions that challenged the Oregon Attorney General’s ballot title for Initiative Petition 5 (2020). IP 5 would repeal and replace a provision in the Oregon Constitution, Article IV, section 6, that addressed reapportionment of the state’s legislative districts, after each decennial census, the take into account changes in the changes in the distribution of the state’s population. The Supreme Court determined the ballot title did not substantially comply with ORS 250.035(2), and referred the ballot title back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Fletchall v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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Initially, respondent John Wigle worked for petitioner Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) as a temporary worker through a temporary staffing agency. EWEB later hired Wigle as a regular employee. When Wigle retired from EWEB, a disputed ensued over when Wigle had become eligible for retirement benefits from the Public Employees Retirement System. The Public Employees Retirement Board concluded that even though Wigle worked through the temp agency, he was eligible for retirement benefits because he had worked for EWEB for six months. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Board’s order, rejecting EWEB’s contention that Wigle only because eligible for benefits once he became an regular employee. The Oregon Supreme Court determined the Oregon Legislature did not intend for employees who was placed on the government’s payroll would be eligible for benefits, “not someone who, in hindsight, was determined to have a common-law employment relationship with the public employer.” The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s order and remanded to the Board for further proceedings. View "Eugene Water and Electric Board v. PERB" on Justia Law

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Claimant Elvia Garcia-Solis was injured in a work-related accident. Farmers Insurance Company and Yeaun Corporation (collectively, “Insurer”) accepted a workers’ compensation claim and certain specified medical conditions associated with the accident. Because claimant also showed psychological symptoms, her doctor recommended a psychological referral to diagnose her for possible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Insurer argued, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the cost of the psychological referral was not covered by workers’ compensation because claimant had failed to prove that it was related to any of the medical conditions that insurer had accepted. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed both the Court of Appeals and the Workers’ Compensation Board: “’injury’ means work accident is context-specific to exactly two uses in the first and second sentences of ORS 656.245(1)(a). It does not apply to the second use in the first sentence of ORS 656.245(1)(a). We do not decide or suggest that it applies to any other statute in the workers’ compensation system.” View "Garcia-Solis v. Farmers Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Defendant Jemaell Riley was convicted of committing multiple crimes with two accomplices. His convictions for six of those counts depended almost entirely on the testimony of his accomplices, who had entered into a cooperation agreement with the state. Defendant contended that he was entitled to a judgment of acquittal on those counts, because the accomplice testimony had not been corroborated by “other evidence” as required by ORS 136.440(1). The Court of Appeals agreed with defendant and reversed his convictions on those counts. On review, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, and reversed those relevant portions of the circuit court’s judgment of conviction. The matter was remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. View "Oregon v. Riley" on Justia Law

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In this post-conviction proceeding, petitioner Lydell White, a juvenile offender, was convicted along with his twin brother Laycelle for aggravated murder and murder. He contended on petition for post-conviction relief that the 800-month sentence he was serving for a single homicide was the functional equivalent of life without parole and was imposed without a hearing that satisfied the procedural and substantive requirements of the Eighth Amendment. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed, finding petitioner was not procedurally barred from seeking post-conviction relief, and that his sentence was subject to the protections of Miller v. Alabama, 567 US 460 (2012). “Because this record does not convince us that the sentencing court determined that petitioner’s crime reflects irreparable corruption, we reverse the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the post-conviction court and remand to the post-conviction court for further proceedings.” View "White v. Premo" on Justia Law