Hemingway and Mauer

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Abuse Prevention Act
  • Date Filed: 01-05-2012
  • Case #: A147428
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In exercising its discretion, the trial court has the authority to control the presentation of evidence and the examination of witnesses. The exercise of authority is reasonable only if it is fundamentally fair and allows opportunities for a reasonably complete presentation of evidence and argument.

The Court of Appeals reversed and vacated the trial court’s continuation of a Family Abuse and Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order. The trial court continued a restraining order against husband that wife sought regarding an ongoing dispute over their marriage dissolution and child custody. Wife called a Department of Human Services (DHS) social worker as a witness at trial to corroborate wife’s claims that her husband abused her and her child. However, husband, who was not represented by counsel, requested the opportunity to cross-examine the social worker, to which the trial court denied his request. On appeal, husband asserted the trial court abused its discretion when it denied him the opportunity to cross-examine the social worker. The Court of Appeals agreed that it the trial court erred when it denied husband the opportunity to cross-examine wife’s witnesses and to present his case-in-chief. Moreover, the lack of cross-examination affected the weight given by the trial court to the testimony presented by wife when it crafted the FAPA order against the husband. Thus, husband was not afforded a fundamentally fair hearing where he could make a reasonably complete presentation of evidence and argument. Vacated and remanded.

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