2015 ORS 163.155¹
Sentencing for murder of pregnant victim
  • proceeding
  • issues for jury

(1) When a defendant, who was at least 15 years of age at the time of committing the murder, is convicted of murdering a pregnant victim under ORS 163.115 (Murder) (1)(a) and the defendant knew that the victim was pregnant, the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole or to life imprisonment. The court shall conduct a sentencing proceeding to determine whether the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole as described in subsection (4) of this section or to life imprisonment as described in subsection (5) of this section. If the defendant waives all rights to a jury sentencing proceeding, the court shall conduct the sentencing proceeding as the trier of fact. The procedure for the sentencing proceeding, whether before a court or a jury, shall follow the procedure of ORS 163.150 (Sentencing for aggravated murder) (1)(a), as modified by this section.

(2) Following the presentation of evidence and argument under subsection (1) of this section, the court shall instruct the jury that the trial court shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole as described in subsection (4) of this section, unless after considering all of the evidence submitted, 10 or more members of the jury find there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant life imprisonment with the possibility of release or parole as described in subsection (5) of this section. If 10 or more members of the jury do not find there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant life imprisonment with the possibility of release or parole, the trial court shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole as described in subsection (4) of this section. If 10 or more members of the jury find there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant life imprisonment with the possibility of release or parole, the trial court shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment as described in subsection (5) of this section.

(3) Nothing in this section precludes the court from sentencing the defendant to life imprisonment, as described in subsection (5) of this section, or life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole, as described in subsection (4) of this section, pursuant to a stipulation of sentence or stipulation of sentencing facts agreed to and offered by both parties if the defendant waives all rights to a jury sentencing proceeding.

(4) A sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole under this section may not be suspended, deferred or commuted by any judicial officer, and the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision may neither parole the prisoner nor reduce the period of confinement in any manner whatsoever. The Department of Corrections or any executive official may not permit the prisoner to participate in any sort of release or furlough program.

(5) If the defendant is sentenced to life imprisonment, the court shall order that the defendant be confined for a minimum of 30 years without possibility of parole, release to post-prison supervision, release on work release or any form of temporary leave or employment at a forest or work camp.

(6) At any time after completion of the minimum period of confinement pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, the board, upon the petition of a prisoner so confined, shall hold a hearing to determine if the prisoner is likely to be rehabilitated within a reasonable period of time. The sole issue shall be whether the prisoner is likely to be rehabilitated within a reasonable period of time. The proceeding shall be conducted in the manner prescribed for a contested case hearing under ORS chapter 183, except that:

(a) The prisoner has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the likelihood of rehabilitation within a reasonable period of time;

(b) The prisoner has the right, if the prisoner is without sufficient funds to employ an attorney, to be represented by legal counsel, appointed by the board, at board expense; and

(c) The prisoner has the right to a subpoena upon a showing of the general relevance and reasonable scope of the evidence sought, provided that any subpoena issued on behalf of the prisoner must be issued by the board pursuant to rules adopted by the board.

(7) If, upon hearing all of the evidence, the board, upon a unanimous vote of three board members or, if the chairperson requires all voting members to participate, a unanimous vote of all voting members, finds that the prisoner is capable of rehabilitation and that the terms of the prisoner’s confinement should be changed to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, release on post-prison supervision or work release, it shall enter an order to that effect and the order shall convert the terms of the prisoner’s confinement to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, release on post-prison supervision or work release and may set a release date. Otherwise the board shall deny the relief sought in the petition.

(8) Not less than two years after the denial of the relief sought in a petition under this section, the prisoner may petition again for a change in the terms of confinement. Further petitions for a change may be filed at intervals of not less than two years thereafter. [2009 c.785 §1a; 2015 c.820 §47]

Note: 163.155 (Sentencing for murder of pregnant victim) was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 163 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

Chapter 163

Law Review Cita­tions

51 OLR 427-637 (1972)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 163—Offenses Against Persons, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors163.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 163, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano163.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.