The Oregon Department of Justice today filed petitions asking the United States Supreme Court to hold open two Oregon cases while it decides a case out of Virginia called Mathena v. Malvo. The Oregon cases, both called Kelly v. White, concern twin brothers who murdered an elderly Salem couple when they were 15 years old.
This May, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Whites’ lengthy prison sentences, imposed by a Marion County Circuit Court judge 25 years ago, violate the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The two sentences handed down in White were not mandatory, but were imposed by the judge after he considered and made findings concerning the specific crimes and the individual defendants. In the Malvo case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether other US Supreme Court cases decided since Malvo was sentenced, but involving mandatory sentences, nevertheless make his sentence unconstitutional and require re-sentencing. The petitions Oregon filed today ensure that whatever rule the Supreme Court announces in Malvo will apply to the White brothers as well as other Oregon cases involving crimes committed many years ago by juveniles.
“The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering the constitutional limits on sentencing juvenile offenders in the Malvo case. The petitions my office has filed ask the Supreme Court to apply whatever ruling it reaches in Malvo to the Whites as well. This will mean that the White brothers are treated the same as other juvenile offenders sentenced long ago and still serving their sentences, ” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.