Convicted rapist by non-unanimous jury denied release prior to retrial in Washington Co.

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:00 PM PDT
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HILLSBORO Ore. (KPTV) - It was an emotional morning in a Washington County Courtroom Wednesday as the victim of a convicted rapist begged the judge not to release him.

Cecil Fairley was convicted of rape in 2009 by a non-unanimous verdict. At the time, Oregon’s judicial system was one of a few in the country to allow people to be convicted by a majority of jurors. But a 2020 United State Supreme Court case is giving hundreds of convicted criminals a chance at a retrial, including Fairley.

Representing himself in court, Fairley argued he should be released early before his new trial.

RELATED: Oregon: People convicted by split juries can have new trial

“The totality of the circumstances and applicable law I believe calls for the dismissal of the indictment and the release of the defendant,” Fairley said.

In Ramos v. Louisiana, six out of the nine justices in the nation’s highest court struck down a Louisiana Law that allows for non-unanimous jury conviction for criminal cases. At the time Oregon had a similar law so it too was struck down. Then at the end of 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that those convicted under a non-unanimous jury before the U.S. Supreme Court decision are eligible for a retrial.

The Oregon Attorney General’s Office said 650 cases have been filed asserting an impact from the nonunanimous jury decisions. Even though Fairley now has a right to a new trial, Chief Deputy District Attorney for Washington County, Jeff Lesowski, said Fairley is too dangerous to be let out of custody.

“This gentleman definitely, deserves and society needs him to remain in prison,” Lesowski said.

The victim in the case spoke to the court about the trauma of being raped by Fairley and described her fear of Fairley being released ahead of his retrial.

“I fear that if he does get released, not only my kids, myself and any little girl out there is in danger,” the victim said. “He’s done this three times before and the way social media is nowadays, it won’t be hard for him to find his fourth victim.”

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After nearly 40 minutes of arguments, the judge in the case denied Fairley’s appeal for an early release.

“Given the nature of the crime, and the concerns of the victims at this time, I’m going to find by clear and convincing evidence that you do pose a danger,” the judge said.

Fairley’s new trial date has not been set at this time.