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Oregon Courts Authorized to Correct Judgment's Factual Errors

The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's entry of an amended judgment increasing a prisoner's sentence.

ORS 138.083 authorizes Oregon courts to modify judgments and sentences "to correct any arithmetic or clerical errors or to delete or modify any erroneous term in the judgment" upon the court's own motion or motion of a party.

In 1997, William Estey, Jr., was convicted of twenty sex crimes and sentenced to 75 months in prison on each count. "The sentencing court orally ordered defendant to serve certain sentences consecutively for a total of 225 months. The court's written judgment, however, provided for consecutive sentences that totaled only 150 months."

After Estey had served 145 months, in August 2009, the prosecutor sent a letter to the trial court asking that it “amend the judgment to conform defendant's sentence to the oral pronouncement of 225 months' incarceration." The trial court held a hearing and granted the state's request.

The Court of Appeals rejected Estey's argument "that ORS 13 8.083(1)(a) does not authorize a trial court to enter an amended judgment merely to conform the judgment to the sentencing court's oral pronouncement." The court found that since Estey's written judgment "failed to reflect the sentencing court's oral imposition of the sentence on one of the counts consecutively to the sentences on two others, resulting in a total of 225 months' incarceration," the judgment contained a "factual error," and ORS 138.083 authorized the court to correct the error. See: State v. Estey, 247 Or App 25. 268 P.3d 772 (2011).

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Related legal case

State v. Estey