Clatsop County District Attorney v. City of Astoria

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-13-2014
  • Case #: A152486
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J.; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A city attorney has all the powers of a district attorney with respect to a violation of any offense created by statute that is subject to the jurisdiction of a municipal court and committed or triable in that city.

Both parties appealed the trial court's declaratory judgment. The dispute was between defendant, the City of Astoria (the city), and the Clatsop County District Attorney (the district attorney), over the control of the prosecution of misdemeanor driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) offenses committed within the city. The city contended that the trial court erred in ruling that “the district attorney is mandated to appear and prosecute criminal cases in Astoria Municipal Court,” and “has complete exclusive authority to control and direct the prosecution of DUIIs filed in the Astoria Municipal Court with authority to allow the city attorney to conduct those prosecutions.” The district attorney cross-appealed, agreeing with the city that the trial court erred in holding that the district attorney is required to attend and prosecute cases in the municipal court. The district attorney argued that there is statutory support for the legislature’s preference that “violations” be prosecuted by the city attorney, and thus other than "violations", he has superior authority to control the prosecution of all crimes committed within his jurisdiction. The Court considered ORS 8.660(2) and related statutes, and found that the city attorney has all the powers of a district attorney to prosecute violations of any statute subject to the jurisdiction of a municipal court, and committed or triable in the city. The Court held that the city attorney has authority that is equivalent, and not subordinate, to the district attorney under ORS 8.860. Reversed in part and remanded with [special instructions] in accordance with the opinion; otherwise affirmed.

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