State v. Carlon

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-10-2014
  • Case #: A149950
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To avoid error, trial courts should ensure that when answering a jury's question, further instructions are applicable to the charges at hand and not further focusing the jury on irrelevant issues.

Defendant appealed her conviction of assault and harassment, asserting that the trial court erred in the jury instructions that were given. Defendant's charges arose from a physical altercation with her sister at her sister's home wherein she alleged self-defense. The initial jury instructions received no objections. However, during deliberations, the jury asked a question and the court responded with further instructions regarding criminal trespass (a crime Defendant was not charged with) and defense of premises. Defendant contends that the additional instructions given inserted an irrelevant issue for the jury to deliberate. This Court agrees, stating that the “jury question clearly demonstrates that the jury was focused on an irrelevant issue . . . ,” and that by giving those instructions, the court further allowed the jury to focus on the irrelevant issue. The state contested that because the matter was not properly preserved in the lower court in accordance with ORCP 59, it could not be appealed. This Court concludes, however, that ORCP 59 sets the standard for determining the preservation of a claim and that it ultimately is up to the court's preservation jurisprudence. This Court determined that Defendant's arguments were sufficient to reserve the issue. Reversed and remanded.

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