Oregon prison terms commission to meet regarding juvenile lifers

Oct 26, 2011
Originally published on October 25, 2011 4:24 pm

The state of Oregon is about to take the first step in deciding the future of five juvenile murderers. The state's Commission on Prison Terms will meet Thursday afternoon in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Last month, the high court found the state has treated these five juvenile lifers more harshly than older killers.

The "Oregon Five" were under age 17 when they committed their horrific crimes. At the time, Oregon law didn't address how to handle these younger aggravated murderers. So, in 1999, Oregon's Commission on Prison Terms wrote a specific set of rules for them.

It turns out those rules were harsher than the sentencing laws for 17-year-old killers -– and even some adults.

Here's an example: Conrad Engweiler raped and murdered a female schoolmate in Portland. He was told he'd have to wait 40 years to get a pre-parole hearing. But had he been 17 at the time of his crime, he could have had that hearing after 20 years.

Oregon's Commission on Prison Terms now has to figure out what to do with these five inmates. The Commission will not decide their fate at this week's meeting.

The panel also has to deal with another recent Supreme Court ruling — one that could result in 30 adult murderers getting out of prison after 20 years, instead of 30.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Oregon Supreme Court opinion:

http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/S058311.pdf

The Oregon Five: Legal Glitch Ensnares Five Juvenile Lifers - July 2, 2008:

http://news.opb.org/article/oregon-five-legal-glitch-ensnares-five-juvenile-lifers/

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