When someone receives a criminal conviction in Oregon, the sentence originally ordered by the judge is not necessarily the number of years that the defendant will serve in prison. There are a number of factors that may affect the outcome in the meantime, including situations that allow the defendant to seek post-conviction relief. For example, the court system may allow a defendant to seek relief when there is relevant evidence that the court did not include during the original trial.
According to the Seattle Times, an Oregon resident sought post-conviction relief through a request for a retrial after he was found guilty for rape in 2012. His original sentence was for 25 years in prison. However, there may have been evidence which could have changed the outcome of his trial. A fact-finding hearing was ordered by the Oregon Supreme Court, which would bring the evidence before a judge to determine whether it would make a difference in the case.
Rather than take the case to trial again, the defendant agreed to a settlement with the prosecution of Deschutes County. The Supreme Court had vacated the conviction, but this was reinstated, and the man has received a 10-year reduction on his sentence. As a result, he may be released in eight years rather than serving the full sentence.
Identifying situations that would allow someone to seek post-conviction relief may be complicated. Many people who believe there may have been an error in their defense hire a criminal justice attorney to investigate the circumstances and determine the best possible path forward.