The Oregon Department of Justice today withdrew two petitions filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in August, 2019 that asked the Court to hold open two Oregon cases while it considered a case from Virginia called Mathena V. Malvo. Earlier this week, the state of Virginia withdrew its appeal in the Malvo case because of a new Virginia state law that creates the possibility of parole for juveniles serving sentences of 20 years to life. The petitions Oregon filed were intended to ensure that whatever rule the U.S. Supreme Court imposed in Malvo would apply to these two cases as well. Like Malvo, they involve crimes committed many years ago by juveniles. However, now that the Malvo appeal has been withdrawn, the Supreme Court will not be announcing a rule in that case that could apply to the Oregon cases.
The Oregon cases, both called Kelly V. White, involve twin brothers who murdered an elderly Salem couple in their home when they were 15 years old. Last May, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Whites’ lengthy prison sentences, imposed by a Marion County Circuit Court judge 25 years ago, violated the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution and remanded the cases to the trial court for further proceedings to determine whether the White brothers can be rehabilitated or are “irreparably depraved.”
“Since we are no longer waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to give us guidance that might have conflicted with our state Supreme Court’s ruling, it makes good sense to now defer to the unanimous ruling of Oregon’s highest court,” 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.