SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court struck down the death sentence of an inmate in a ruling Thursday that found lawmakers had fundamentally altered “prevailing societal standards” for executions with a 2019 law change.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that experts believe the decision could eliminate the death sentence for all inmates facing the penalty.
State lawmakers passed SB 1013 in 2019. The bill narrowed what crimes qualify as aggravated murder — the only charge that carries capital punishment in Oregon.
While the law change included a provision that did not make it retroactive, the court’s ruling appears to do that, relying on a section of the state’s Constitution that prohibits disproportionate punishments.