A Book from the Library of Defense

Oregon Supreme Court, May 20, 2021

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by: Rankin Johnson • May 28, 2021 • no comments


Summarized by Rankin Johnson, OCDLA

EVIDENCE - Impeachment

Defendant was entitled to cross-examine decedent's fiancée about decedent's ethnic prejudices. Trial court reversed, Court of Appeals affirmed.

Defendant argued, and the appellate courts agreed, that the witness's choice to become engaged to a racist tended to prove the witness's own prejudices. Those prejudices were relevant in light of the witness's testimony that defendant, a Black man, was "in charge" while committing a crime with a white codefendant. The court further held that the proffered evidence was not unfairly prejudicial.

State v. Naudain 368 Or 140 (May 20, 2021) (Garrett) (Multnomah County, Ryan)

POST-CONVICTION RELIEF - Ineffective assistance of appellate counsel

Court of Appeals erred in declining to consider post-conviction claim regarding appellate counsel when petitioner failed to offer evidence about the purpose of appellate counsel's representation. Reversed and remanded to Court of Appeals.

Petitioner was convicted of crimes against two victims, and, on appeal, raised an evidentiary error that may have applied only to offenses against one victim and did not argue that it was harmful as to convictions against the other. In post-conviction court, he argued that adequate appellate counsel would have attacked all the convictions. The post-conviction court disagreed, and the Court of Appeals declined to reach any error because post-conviction counsel had failed to offer evidence that the purpose of the representation included attacking the affected convictions.

The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals improperly relied on the "right for the wrong reason" doctrine, and remanded for that court to consider the parties' arguments.

Evans v. Nooth 368 Or 159 (May 20, 2021) (Garrett) (Malheur County, Pratt)