News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Hall case comes back to Deschutes County

A ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court last December that a requirement for unanimous verdict in serious criminal cases applies to older criminal cases as well as those still on appeal has had a significant impact in Deschutes County.

According to District Attorney Steve Gunnels, a number of cases have or are expected to be returned to Deschutes County for review and potential retrial. That includes the case of Jeremy Shane Hall.

Hall, who had been the pastor of a Sisters church, was convicted on February 2, 2007, on five counts of Sex Abuse in the First Degree, and one count of Unlawful Sexual Penetration. The charges and conviction stemmed from a 2005 incident in which Hall molested his 13-year-old babysitter. The verdict was not unanimous. The jury returned the guilty verdict with 11 out of 12 jurors making the call. At that time, under Oregon law, non-unanimous verdicts of this kind were permissible for serious cases short of murder.

Hall was sentenced to 18 years and nine months in prison. He was incarcerated at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla County, Oregon.

“His case has been returned to Deschutes County,” D.A. Gunnels told The Nugget. “He made his first appearance back in Deschutes County on March 3, and security was set at $100,000, with no contact with the victim and no contact with minors.”

Gunnels reported that Hall posted bail on March 6, and was released with a “high-risk” monitor — an ankle bracelet.

The district attorney said that it is challenging to retry old cases that have been returned under the Supreme Court ruling. The D.A.’s office has to reach out to victims and ask if they are willing to go through the legal process again. Gunnels said that in this case the victim is willing to do so, and that his office plans to retry the case.

“That is our intent,” he said.


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