Summarized by Rankin Johnson, OCDLA
RIGHT TO PRESENCE AT TRIAL - Conduct constituting waiver
By signing release form when ordered by the court, defendant did not validly waive the right to attend trial in the event of his failure to appear. Remanded for new trial.
Before his release, defendant signed a release agreement and a document that warned that trial would proceed in his absence if he did not appear for trial. At a status conference, trial counsel appeared and said that he was not in contact with defendant. Defense counsel requested leave to withdraw, which leave was granted. The court scheduled trial to begin five days later, trial was held in the absence of defendant or defense counsel, and the jury convicted. The court held that the confusing and inconsistent documents defendant was ordered to sign did not show a valid waiver.
State v. Jacobson 296 Or App 87 (February 13, 2019) (Egan) (Clatsop County, Nelson)
SELF-INCRIMINATION - Equivocal invocation
"I don't have nothing to say" was an equivocal invocation of the right to remain silent. Remanded for new trial.
Following related Supreme Court decisions, the Court of Appeals rejected its prior context-based analysis in favor of an analysis based on the defendant's words. Because the words could be interpreted as an invocation, and nothing in the context compelled an alternative interpretation, the words were an equivocal invocation. No further questioning was lawful until police asked defendant to clarify his intent.
State v. Rose 296 Or App 99 (February 13, 2019) (Ortega) (Clackamas County, Van Dyk)
MENTAL STATES - knowledge required for possession of methamphetamine conviction
In order to be guilty of possession of methamphetamine, defendant had to know that she possessed methamphetamine, not merely that she possessed an illicit substance, and the jury should have been so instructed. Remanded for new trial.
State v. Harper 296 Or App 125 (February 13, 2019) (Garrett) (Washington County, Butterfield)