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Death Row Inmate Has Sentence Reversed
“Conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate”

The Oregon Supreme Court has reversed the death sentence imposed on defendant Dayton Leroy Rogers and remanded the case to the Clackamas County Circuit Court for resentencing. Rogers' modus operandi was to pick up prostitutes and take them to secluded areas. He took at least six of them into the forest where he tied them up and killed them.

The court, in an opinion authored by Associate Justice Adrienne Nelson, concluded as it did in Oregon v. David Ray Bartol that since the rules for aggravated murder had changed, it was disproportionate, and reversed and remanded the conviction. It is likely that a lower court will sentence Dayton to a lengthy sentence, instead of death.

While defendant's appeal was pending, the legislature enacted SB 1013, which amended the death penalty statutes such that, among other things, all of the forms of murder that previously had constituted aggravated murder -- including the theories of

aggravated murder under which defendant had been convicted -- were reclassified as murder in the first degree and were no longer subject to the death penalty

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Adrienne C. Nelson, the Supreme Court reversed defendant's sentence of death, concluding that, in light of the Court's recent decision in Bartol, maintaining defendant's death sentence for conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate and, thus, would violate Article I, section 16

Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution says that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases."

SB 1013 redefined aggravated murder to just a few extreme cases in Oregon. According to the new law, aggravated murder -- eligible for the death penalty -- is limited to the following:

1) Criminal homicide of two or more persons that is premeditated and committed intentionally [under, or accompanied by, any of the following circumstances] and with the intent to:
a) Intimidate, injure or coerce a civilian population
b) Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or
c) Affect the conduct of a government through destruction of property, murder, kidnapping or aircraft piracy or
2) Murder in the second degree, as defined in ORS 163.115, that is:
a) A) Committed while the defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody and
B) Committed after the defendant was previously convicted in any jurisdiction of any homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of aggravated murder under this section or murder in the first degree under section 3 of this 2019 Act
b) Premeditated and committed intentionally against a person under 14 years of age
c) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a police officer as defined in ORS 801.395, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties or
d) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties.

SB 1013 was passed mostly along party lines during the 2019 session. Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) joined House Republicans Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) and Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass). Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The bill was put forward as a committee bill from the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and as such, has no named sponsor, though Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) chaired the committee at the time the bill was introduced.

According to some insiders, this decision not only reverses the death penalty in this case, but imperils the entire Oregon Constitution where any provision of the Constitution can be redefined by merely redefining the terms.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-13 06:45:19Last Update: 2021-11-12 17:08:40



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