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The question this case presented for the Oregon Supreme Court’s review centered on fees, and whether the legislature intended to depart from the accepted practice of awarding a party entitled to recover attorney fees incurred in litigating the merits of a fee-generating claim additional fees incurred in determining the amount of the resulting fee award in condemnation actions. The trial court ruled that there was no departure, and awarded the property owner in this case the fees that she had incurred both in litigating the merits of the underlying condemnation action and in determining the amount of the fee award. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Finding no reversible error in the Court of Appeals’ decision, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed. View "TriMet v. Aizawa" on Justia Law

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The Portland City Code imposed a $35 tax on each resident of the city who is at least 18 years old, has income of $1,000 or more per year, and does not reside in a household that is at or below federal poverty guidelines. The funds generated by the tax are used to support public art and music education programs. Plaintiff George Wittemyer argued the “arts tax” was a violation of the Oregon Constitution’s prohibition on a “poll or head tax.” The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that a tax that takes into account the income, property, or other resources of taxpayers is not a “poll or head tax” within the meaning of Article IX, section 1a. In this case, the City of Portland arts tax exempted certain residents based on their income and household resources. Thus, the tax does take income into account and, as a result, did not amount to a “poll or head tax.” View "Wittemyer v. City of Portland" on Justia Law

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If an individual has been released on both probation and post-prison supervision subject to the same or similar conditions, a single act may violate the conditions of both probation and post-prison supervision. Defendant Matthew Richards was sentenced on two different criminal offenses and was subject to both probation and post-prison supervision at the same time. A condition of both was that he not change addresses without permission. He did not comply with that condition. As a result, the official who supervised his post-prison supervision on one offense imposed a sanction of three days in jail. The trial court imposed an additional sanction of revoking his probation on the other offense and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment on that offense. The issue in this case was whether the trial court had authority to do so. The Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court does have such authority. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed and affirmed. View "Oregon v. Richards" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 2 (2018) (IP 2). IP 2, if enacted, would change the way that signatures were gathered to put an initiative measure or a referendum on the ballot. Currently, once the Secretary of State determines that an initiative or referendum petition meets certain minimum requirements, the chief petitioners or petition circulators must collect signatures from registered voters on signature sheets prepared in accordance with the Secretary of State’s rules. IP 2 would make two major changes to those requirements: (1) it would require the Secretary of State to adopt rules permitting registered voters to sign initiative and referendum petitions digitally; and (2) it would require the Secretary of State to create and administer a website where registered voters could sign petitions digitally. Petitioner challenged the caption, the "yes" vote result statement, and the summary. The Oregon Supreme Court determined changes were warranted to the ballot title, but not the "yes" vote result statement or the summary. The ballot title was referred back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Unger v. Rosenblum" 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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Delta Logistics, Inc. was a "for-hire carrier" licensed by the federal government to transport goods interstate. Delta did not own any trucks; rather, it leased trucks from owner-operators, who operated, furnished, and maintained the trucks. The Oregon Employment Department assessed Delta unemployment insurance taxes on the funds that Delta paid the owner-operators, on grounds the owner-operators did not come within the exemption in ORS 657.047(1)(b) because the leases that the owner-operators entered into with Delta were not "leases" within the meaning of the statute: to come within the exemption, the owner must be the only person operating the truck. An administrative law judge (ALJ) agreed and issued a final order upholding the assessment. Delta appealed. The Court of Appeals was not persuaded by the Department's arguments and overturned the ALJ's decision, finding ORS 657.047(2) made clear that the exemption included owners who hire employees to help operate their trucks. Considering the text, context, and legislative history of ORS 657.047(1)(b), the Oregon Supreme Court did not agree with the department that Delta owed unemployment taxes on owner-operators who hired employees to help them operate the motor-vehicles they leased to Delta. The Court of Appeals was affirmed that the final of the ALJ was reversed. View "Delta Logistics, Inc. v. Employment Dept. Tax Section" on Justia Law

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The parties in this case raised the issue of whether the natural dissipation of alcohol in a suspect’s body created such an emergency that police officers could enter a suspect’s home without a warrant in order to secure the suspect’s blood-alcohol evidence. Police officers entered the home of defendant Randall Ritz, without a warrant, to secure evidence of his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) after having probable cause to believe that he had been driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), a misdemeanor offense. The state argued that the warrantless entry was justified because the natural dissipation of alcohol in defendant’s body is a type of destruction of evidence that establishes an exigent circumstance. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress the blood-alcohol evidence. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed. The record did not establish the officers reasonably believed, at the time that they entered defendant’s home, that obtaining a warrant would have delayed preserving evidence that was dissipating. The state therefore failed to establish that the officers reasonably believed that they were faced with an exigency in this case. The Court recognized that, by deciding this case on the facts, it was not resolving the legal question that the parties raised, namely, what factors should be considered in determining whether an exigency search is justified. “However, because the state failed to establish the existence of an exigency, the state cannot justify its warrantless search as an exigency search, regardless of what other factors should be considered or how those factors should be weighed.” View "Oregon v. Ritz" on Justia Law

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The issue in this case is whether the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (county) complied with the requirements of ORS 408.230(2)(c) to “devise and apply methods” of giving veterans and disabled veterans “special consideration” in the hiring process, or as here, when it failed to promote a disabled veteran. The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) concluded that the county did fail to comply with the statute, as well as administrative rules that implement it. BOLI ordered the county to comply with the law, to train its staff, and to pay the disabled veteran $50,000 in damages for his emotional distress. The county appealed, but the Oregon Supreme Court concluded BOLI correctly construed ORS 408.230(2)(c) and that, given the unchallenged findings in the agency’s final order, there was no basis for the county’s contention that BOLI erred in finding a violation of that statute. With regard to BOLI’s authority to award damages for emotional distress, the county failed to preserve that argument. The Court therefore affirmed the Court of Appeals and the final order of BOLI. View "Multnomah County Sheriff's Office v. Edwards" on Justia Law

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Defendant Thomas Eastep arranged to sell another person’s truck for scrap. At the time, the truck was in a significant state of disrepair. He was charged with, and ultimately convicted of, unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV). At trial, he argued that the state had failed to prove that he had used another person’s “vehicle,” because the truck that he had arranged to sell was in a state of significant disrepair and was not currently operable. The trial court disagreed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. On review, defendant argued that, at least as used in the statute defining the offense of UUV, a “vehicle” must be capable of operation, and there is no evidence that the truck was capable of operation. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed with the state that the word “vehicle,” as it was used in ORS 164.135(1)(a), included no requirement of either current operability or capability of operation with only ordinary repairs. A vehicle may remain a “vehicle” within the meaning of that statute even if it needs more significant, but still reasonable, repairs. In this case, however, the state failed to establish that the truck that defendant had arranged to sell was in such a condition that it would have been reasonable to restore it to an operable condition. The Court therefore reversed defendant’s conviction. View "Oregon v. Eastep" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted defendant Joaquin Sierra of nine offenses: one count of first-degree kidnapping; two counts of second-degree kidnapping; one count of fourth-degree assault; and five counts of unlawful use of a weapon (UUW). The state did not allege enhancement factors. The trial court sentenced defendant to a total of 250 months in prison. The court imposed a 110-month sentence on the conviction for first-degree kidnapping, two consecutive 70-month sentences on the convictions for second-degree kidnapping, and concurrent sentences of 14 months or less on the remaining convictions (including all of defendant’s UUW convictions). On review, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that the evidence did not support the convictions for two counts of second-degree kidnapping because the state had failed to prove the act element, reversed defendant’s convictions on those counts and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing. On remand, a different judge, who did not preside over defendant’s original trial, imposed a longer total sentence than had the original trial court. This case presented two issues for the Oregon Supreme Court’s review: (1) whether Oregon common law or the federal Double Jeopardy Clause precluded the second sentencing court from imposing new sentences on defendant’s convictions for unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) because defendant already had served the previously imposed sentences; and (2) whether the Due Process Clause, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 US 711 (1969), and by the Oregon Court in Oregon v. Partain, 349 Or 10 (2010), precluded the imposition of a more severe sentence than originally imposed. The answer to both questions was no. The Oregon Court affirmed the trial court and appellate courts. View "Oregon v. Sierra" on Justia Law