Circuit Court Judge John Olson issued his restitution opinion for the teenager who pleaded guilty to starting the Eagle Creek Fire last summer, ordering him to pay $36 million dollars.
The teen was in court on Thursday for a restitution hearing, where 11 different claims were submitted from different agencies and companies totaling $36 million. The teen’s attorney argued the number was “cruel and unusual.”
The judge said in his opinion that the judgment does not violate the constitution and “is clearly proportionate to the offense because it does not exceed the financial damages caused by the youth.”
The Eagle Creek Fire started on Sept. 2, 2017 and burned 48,000 acres of forest land. The 15-year-old pleaded guilty to charges in February.
The court acknowledged the teen cannot pay the full judgment at once, let alone in his lifetime, so the Hood River Juvenile Department is working out an affordable sum and will create a payment plan.
“If the youth wants to appeal this judgemental, there’s a lawful mechanism for him to do that, then they’ll get a statewide answer from the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court,” Phil Lemman, Oregon Judicial Department spokesman, said.
The court can grant a full or partial satisfaction of the restitution after 10 years if the teen completes probation, does not commit additional offenses and complies with payment plan.