State v. Hunt

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-20-2015
  • Case #: A152254
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An appellate court may reverse judgment requiring defendant to pay attorney's fees if the trial court erred in its assessment of defendant's ability to pay those fees.

Defendant appealed convictions for fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence and for harassment. On appeal Defendant argued that the trial court made two errors in its judgement. Defendant’s first assignment of error was that the trial court plainly erred in its failure to strike testimony from a deputy who claimed that he did not believe the victim’s original story regarding the domestic dispute. Defendant argued that the statement was entered into evidence in order to harm the victim’s credibility. Regarding this assignment of error, the Court found that the trial court did not plainly err because the deputy’s statement was not clearly meant to harm the victim’s credibility, but to demonstrate the deputy’s understanding of the situation. Next, Defendant assigned error to the trial court's requirement for him to pay $510 in attorney fees when the record does not reveal his ability to pay that fee. Regarding this second assignment of error, the State argued that Defendant did not object to the fees, and that it was not shown that Defendant could not afford to pay the fees. The Court determined that, because Defendant had been sentenced to prison and had no stated source of income, he could not afford the fees. The Court concluded that the trial court erred in its assignation of fees, and due to Defendant’s situation the Court could correct this error in judgment. The Court reversed regarding the fees but otherwise affirmed.

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