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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
A 5-4 ruling today by the U.S. Supreme Court today keeps hundreds of Oregon criminals behind bars and caps a remarkable undefeated record by former Attorney General Hardy Myers before the nation's highest court.
The Oregon Department of Justice won all six cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court under Myers. Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams argued and won three of them.
"This victory is a remarkable tribute to the great skill and judgment of Hardy Myers and Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams. This is a big win for law enforcement in Oregon," said Attorney General John R. Kroger.
Thomas Eugene Ice was convicted in Marion County of sexually abusing 11-year-old girl who lived in the apartment complex he managed.
Under Oregon law, the trial judge must make certain factual findings before imposing consecutive sentences in most cases. In this case, the trial judge imposed consecutive sentences for four of Ice's six convictions because the judge found that the convictions arose from Ice sexually abusing the victim on two separate occasions and that the Ice's conduct for the separate offenses caused different harm to the victim.
Ice's attorneys argued that a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling required that a jury had to make these factual findings before the judge could impose consecutive sentences.
The Oregon Supreme Court agreed in 2007. The Oregon Department of Justice appealed, arguing that it was constitutional for judges to make such sentencing determinations. The United States Supreme Court today agreed with the state and reversed the decision of the Oregon Supreme Court, keeping in place the sentencing structure authorized by Oregon law.
The victory keeps in tact hundreds of criminal sentences in Oregon.
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