Governor commutes sentence of MacLaren youth convicted of robbery, theft
Governor Kate Brown on Monday conditionally commuted the sentence of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility youth Brandon M. Dixon, who has been incarcerated in OYA facilities since 2010. The commutation occurred one day before Dixon's 25th birthday, when, by law, he would be transferred to a Department of Corrections prison.
When Dixon was 17, he was sentenced to over 13 years of incarceration after pleading guilty to one count of first-degree robbery, three counts of second-degree robbery and one count of first-degree theft. The charges stemmed from Dixon committing several armed robberies of convenience stores and a Denny's restaurant near Clackamas Town Center. The crimes took place in 2009 over a period of 12 days while Dixon was high on methamphetamine. He did not cause any physical injuries to the victims of the crimes.
He was sentenced to 160 months (13 1/3 years) of incarceration and 36 months of post-prison supervision.
According to a press release from the governor's office, Dixon has served more than half of his sentence at OYA facilities. While incarcerated, Dixon completed high school, earned an associate's degree from Chemeketa Community College with a 3.94 grade-point average and is working toward a bachelor's degree in business administration at Eastern Oregon University.
He also became a certified barber and hairdresser while incarcerated and he earned a vocational teacher's license to teach barbering to others. According to the press release, Dixon's barbering instructor wrote in a letter that Dixon is the first OYA youth ever to accomplish this.
Dixon's application for clemency is supported by several of the victims of his crimes and by the Clackamas County District Attorney John S. Foote, whose office prosecuted Dixon.
"We have been informed by many sources that Mr. Dixon has dedicated himself, while at OYA, to learn from his mistakes and repay his debt to our community," Foote said in a letter to Governor Brown. "We have been told that he has demonstrated his potential to be a productive, law-abiding citizen."
Brown said that Dixon's expression of remorse and his transformation while incarcerated made him stand out.
"Clemency is an extraordinary remedy and Brandon Dixon is an extraordinary case," Brown said. "Brandon has demonstrated sincere remorse and has spent his time in Oregon Youth Authority custody mentoring troubled youth there. He has transformed from, in his own words, an 'unstable, unapologetic punk,' into a mature, hard-working, educated, humble, empathetic, and dependable role model to other incarcerated youth."
The Oregon Constitution grants the governor the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons for convicted individuals.
"A governor's constitutional power of clemency exists for exceptional cases like this, and the support Brandon received from District Attorney Foote is a testament to the young man's demonstrated commitment to leading a law-abiding, productive life moving forward," Brown said.
OYA staff members and volunteers also highlighted Dixon's qualities.
"He is an outstanding mentor on campus — highly regarded by both staff and his peers," OYA staff member Christina Puentes said of Dixon. "Brandon is always willing to help whenever help is needed. Brandon has taken every opportunity given to him and used it to its fullest."
Portland State University professor and OYA volunteer Deborah Smith Arthur said of Dixon, "He is a leader on the (MacLaren) campus. I watched him support others, running alongside them, quite literally, when they were struggling during a recent marathon race at (MacLaren)
"... Brandon is a kind, bright, and empathetic person with a sincere desire to be a support to others and to do his part to make the world a better place," she continued.
The conditions of Dixon's commutation include that Dixon will be under post-prison supervision until June 21, 2026. If he violates any state or federal laws during that time, the commutation could be revoked.