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Oregon V. Hancock, 60 Ore. App. 425; 653 P.2d 1304; 1982 Ore. App. Lexis 4132 (1982)

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Case Name: Oregon v. Hancock, 60 Ore. App. 425; 653 P.2d 1304; 1982 Ore. App. LEXIS 4132 (1982)

Appellant: Gordon Charles Hancock

Appellee: State of Oregon

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeals of Oregon

Procedural History: Hancock was convicted of possession of a weapon by a person committed to a penal institution and being an ex-convict in possession of a firearm in the Linn County Circuit Court. Hancock appeals the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal to the Court of Appeals of Oregon. The court denied the motion, merged the two convictions, and the conviction on the charge is reversed and remanded for resentencing.

Substantive Facts: Hancock was an inmate of the Oregon State Penitentiary. Due to being for parole in the near future, he was granted a temporary leave from the penitentiary to search for a job. During that leave, and while living in a private residence, he was found to be in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Litigant Positions: Defendant, Hancock contends that he was not in the institution at the time he possessed the weapon and that and his weapons possession posed no direct threat to institutional security so his conduct is not covered by ORS 166.275. The state argues that defendant was still considered an inmate and would be an inmate until released on parole and that an inmate who is temporarily away from the institution and in possession of a weapon constitutes a threat to institutional security. Therefore, the state argues that defendant’s conduct is still covered by ORS 166.275.

Issue: Whether an inmate who living in a private residence is under the jurisdiction of penal institution of ORS 166.275?

Rules: The decision in State v. Larsen shows that being no longer in the institution or under direct custody supervision is not under the jurisdiction and ORS166.275 penalizes possession of weapons by inmates only when they are within the prison or under direct custody supervision.

Holding: An inmate outside the penal institution no longer under direct custody supervision is not under the jurisdiction.

Reasonings:
I. Major Premise: In State v. Larsen it is apparent that the intent of ORS 166.275 is to protect institutional security and there is criticism of ORS 166.275 which is based on inconsistency between ORS166.275 and ORS162.165(1)(b) despite the court refuses to ascribe to the legislature the intent to punish a person more severely for the mere possession of any kind of weapon after escape than for the use of a dangerous or deadly weapon during an escape even though it clearly involves a lesser crime. Extraction of rule from Larsen is that the defendant, albeit unlawfully, had effectively severed his ties with the penal institution and was no longer under direct custody supervision which indicates there was no threat to institutional security by the defendant's possession of the weapon. Oregon Court of Appeals’ conclusion in Larsen that the statute was designed to protect institutional security did not expand its reach to include all possession of weapons that potentially threaten institutional security. The statute does not penalize all possession of weapons by inmates, but only possession by inmates in a particular setting.…...

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