State v. Hunt

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 06-10-2015
  • Case #: A148399
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Edmonds, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When at an arraignment where the court has impermissibly adjudged a defendant's waiver of counsel, in which the defendant proceeds into a community service program under terms that she does not fully comprehend, the error is not harmless and a new arraignment must be provided for the defendant with the community service option still available to her.

Defendant appealed a third-degree theft conviction in a stipulated-facts trial to the court. At the defendant’s arraignment she chose to complete an alternative community service program and then come back to the court to prove that she had done it. When she chose to participate in the program she was not provided an attorney. Defendant did not finish the community service within the thirty-five days allowed. An attorney was then appointed for Defendant and on appeal, Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s decision waiving her right to counsel and arguing that the Court had not obtained a valid waiver. Defendant claimed that the error was not harmless because, without the assistance of counsel, Defendant did not understand the community service program and, as a result of her failure, is no longer able to participate in it. The Court concluded that assistance of counsel could have affected the outcome of Defendant’s case because counsel could have explained to her that the program could not be completed in the county of her residence or that a judge could extend the length of the timeframe for community service completion. Reversed and remanded.

Advanced Search