Supreme Court Ruling Could Reverse 269 Oregon Felony Convictions, Maybe More

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to get rid of Oregon’s non-unanimous jury system, Oregon Department of Justice officials have found at least 269 felony cases in the state should be reversed. The court ruled non-unanimous juries are unconstitutional.  

Oregon Solicitor General Benjamin Gutman wrote that the number will likely grow as time passes in a letter to the Oregon Supreme Court and state Court of Appeals, which also included a list of the cases affected by the decision.   

All the cases that should be reversed are on direct appeal and include a variety of crimes: burglary, assault, rape, and drug distribution. After reversal, these cases will be sent back to local prosecutors to decide whether they will be retried or dropped.   

Before the Supreme Court decision, Oregon was the only state still issuing guilty verdicts in most felony cases (except murder) with a 10-2 or 11-1 vote. Now, the Oregon Department of Justice’s fears are coming true — they are likely to become overwhelmed with local cases in need of reversal.   

By Cara Nixon