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Bill Aims To Clarify Minimum Sentences June 1, 2011

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

A bill that would clarify that the state’s mandatory minimum sentences can’t be applied to people who commit crimes under the age of 15 was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Oregon House.

Measure 11 — a 1994 ballot measure that set a number of minimum mandatory sentences for violent crimes and serious sex offenses, such as 25 years for murder — was always intended to target only offenders who are 15 or older, legislators say. But the actual language of the law was ambiguous, and that meant younger minors could technically still receive a mandatory sentence under Measure 11, according to legislators.

Rep. Wally Hicks, a Republican from Grants Pass who carried Senate Bill 868 to the floor, said he knew of at least one case where that had happened to an Oregonian for a crime he had committed as a 12-year-old.

“There is one Oregonian for whom potentially this clarification could have made a difference in his case,” Hicks said.

Hicks added that the bill had run into no opposition by advocacy groups during public hearings.

The Senate also passed the bill unanimously, in early May. The legislation now heads to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s desk for approval.



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