Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

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Petitioner Kipland Kinkel pled guilty to four counts of murder and 25 counts of attempted murder, and pled no contest to a twenty-sixth count of attempted murder. On May 20, 1998, when petitioner was 15 years old, he was sent home from high school for bringing a gun to school. Later that day, he shot his father once in the head. Afterwards, he shot his mother five times in the head and once in the heart. He went to school the following day and shot and killed two students and wounded dozens more. In this post-conviction proceeding, petitioner argued that, because he was a juvenile when he committed his crimes, the Eighth Amendment prohibited the imposition of an aggregate sentence that was the functional equivalent of a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Petitioner’s federal argument entails primarily three issues: (1) whether, as a matter of state law, petitioner’s Eighth Amendment claim was procedurally barred; (2) if it was, whether Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S Ct 718 (2016), required the Oregon Supreme Court to reach petitioner’s Eighth Amendment claim despite the existence of that state procedural bar; and (3) if petitioner’s Eighth Amendment claim was not procedurally barred, whether and how Miller v. Alabama, 567 US 460 (2012), applied when a court imposed an aggregate sentence for multiple crimes committed by a juvenile. The Oregon Supreme Court held that, even if ORS 138.550(2) did not pose a procedural bar to petitioner’s Eighth Amendment claim, his claim failed on the merits. The Oregon Court concluded that the facts in this case, coupled with the sentencing court’s findings, brought petitioner within the narrow class of juveniles who, as Miller recognized, could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. View "Kinkel v. Persson" on Justia Law

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The question in this case was whether K.A.M. was stopped during the search of a drug house when a detective came upon youth and a friend in one of the bedrooms, told K.A.M.'s friend to “stay off the meth,” asked them their names, and then asked whether they had anything illegal on them. Because the trial court ruled that no stop occurred, it denied K.A.M.'s motion to suppress evidence discovered during the encounter. The Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, agreeing that no stop had occurred. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded after a review of the trial court record, however, a stop occurred, it reversed the Court of Appeals decision and the trial court’s judgment. View "Oregon v. K. A. M." on Justia Law

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This case involved a challenge to a juvenile court’s decision to waive its jurisdiction over a 13-year-old boy who was alleged to have committed aggravated murder. Under the relevant statutes, ORS 419C.352 and ORS 419C.349, a youth under age of 15 who is alleged to have committed murder may be waived into adult court only if, at the time of the conduct, he or she “was of sufficient sophistication and maturity to appreciate the nature and quality of the conduct involved.” In this case, the evidence suggested that youth was of “average” sophistication and maturity for his age and was “just as effective” as peers of his age in understanding that his conduct was wrong. The juvenile court found that the statutory “sophistication and maturity” requirement had been satisfied. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the “sophistication and maturity” provision required only an awareness of the physical nature and criminality of the conduct at issue. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed with the youth that the “sophistication and maturity” requirement was more demanding, and reversed both the appellate and juvenile courts. The case was remanded to the juvenile court for further proceedings. View "Oregon v. J. C. N.-V." on Justia Law

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Relator was 14 years old when he committed murder in 1998. Relator was waived into adult court and convicted of aggravated murder. The court sentenced relator to life imprisonment with a 30-year mandatory minimum period of incarceration. After relator had served roughly half of that period, he obtained a “second look” hearing under ORS 420A.203. The trial court entered a preliminary order of conditional release, but the state appealed that order to the Court of Appeals. At issue in this mandamus proceeding was the trial court’s related “direction” to the Department of Corrections, pursuant to ORS 420A.206(1)(a), requiring it to prepare a proposed release plan. Relator sought, and the Supreme Court issued, an alternative writ of mandamus ordering the department to comply with the trial court’s direction or to show cause for not doing so. The department, however, contended that its obligation to comply was automatically stayed under ORS 138.160. The Supreme Court disagreed and ordered the department to comply with the trial court’s direction to prepare and submit a proposed plan of release. View "Oregon ex rel Walraven v. Dept. of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The juvenile court took jurisdiction over A.J.C. for conduct that, if committed by an adult, would have constituted possession of a firearm in a public building, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and menacing. The question this case presented to the Supreme Court for review was whether the school-safety exception to the warrant requirement announced in "State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. M. A. D.," (233 P3d 437 (2010)), permitted a school principal to conduct a warrantless search of the youth’s backpack after the principal had seized the backpack from the youth. The juvenile court concluded that the search was permissible under the school-safety exception, and it denied youth’s pretrial motion to suppress. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court also affirmed. View "Oregon v. A. J. C." on Justia Law

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The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court in this case was whether Article I, section 17, of the Oregon Constitution applied to a restitution determination in a juvenile delinquency proceeding. The youth-defendant in this case argued that he was entitled to a jury trial because recent constitutional and statutory amendments transformed the juvenile restitution statute, ORS 419C.450, into a civil device through which victims of crime could recover monetary damages for their injuries. The Supreme Court held that a restitution determination pursuant to ORS 419C.450 was not civil in nature and that Article I, section 17, therefore did not require a jury trial in the defendant's case. View "Oregon v. N. R. L." on Justia Law