Wright v. Nooth

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 07-23-2014
  • Case #: A147501
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Before Duncan, P.J., Wollheim, J., & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In regards to findings of fact, such as with a defendant’s waiver to testify on their own behalf, the Appellate Court will defer to the post-conviction court’s records. Additionally, in order to find error in counsel’s decision not to object to testimony, the testimony must have been of a kind that would have likely provided evidence that would have altered the outcome of the proceeding.

Wright appeals a judgment denying his petition for post-conviction relief. Specifically, Wright claims that in the post-conviction court, his counsel performed inadequately by failing to object to the testimony of two women and by not allowing him to personally testify at trial. Wright was convicted of having forcibly held an intoxicated woman in a motel room for a period of at least two hours and requesting that she perform sexual acts with him fifteen to twenty times. The two women who offered testimony had been propositioned by him outside of a bar earlier that night. Wright was convicted of first-degree kidnapping and attempted first-degree rape. In regards to the testimony of the two women, petitioner posits that his counsel should have objected to the admission of the evidence on the grounds that it was inadmissible prior bad acts. The Court held that the right to counsel under Article I, section II of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution are functionally equivalent and, in light of the other evidence at trial, this testimony did not appear to have materially prejudiced the Wright in a way that affected the result of the trial on the basis of the petitioner’s theory of defense. Additionally, the Court deferred to the findings of fact from the post-conviction court which stated the trial counsel did not err in failing to call the petitioner to testify because petitioner had been instructed on his right to testify and had apparently declined to do so. Affirmed.

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