State v. Potter

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-10-2011
  • Case #: A142227
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, C.J. for the Court; & Edmonds, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When questioning a defendant about a case other than that which the defendant has invoked the right to counsel for, the prosecutor must contact the defendant’s attorney before attempting to interview the defendant on a factually related matter.

The Court of Appeals accepted two cases previously consolidated for trial and appeal. Between the two cases the defendant was convicted of seven counts of identity theft. On appeal, defendant contended that the trial court erroneously admitted statements from a police interrogation conducted in violation to his right to counsel according to Article I, section 11 of the Oregon Constitution. The State argued that the detective did not need to contact the defendant’s attorney before interrogating defendant about a subsequent investigation because the facts of the case were not “inextricably intertwined” with the case for which defendant was being held. The Court disagreed, holding that the State misinterpreted earlier case law and the trial court should have merely evaluated whether the two cases were factually related. After finding similarities in the cases’ general factual natures, overlapping evidence, commission in the same jurisdiction and the detectives’ collaborative investigation of the crimes, the Court held the cases to be factually related. Reversed and remanded.

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