Richardson v. Belleque

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 04-20-2016
  • Case #: A151817
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; Hadlock, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Post-conviction relief is proper when defense counsel failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment in failing to rebut expert testimony at a dangerous-offender sentencing hearing.

The State appealed the post-conviction court’s vacation of Petitioner’s sentence because of inadequate assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court determined that Petitioner’s counsel was inadequate for failing to consult with or call an expert rebuttal witness at Petitioner’s dangerous-offender sentencing hearing. The State argued that Petitioner’s counsel was not inadequate because counsel’s defense strategy was to not call a rebuttal expert witness. A petitioner “must prove that his or her trial counsel failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment and that, because of that failure, the petitioner suffered prejudice.” Prejudice means that counsel’s failure had “a tendency to affect the result of the prosecution.” The Court held that counsel failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment in not consulting with an expert. The post-conviction court correctly determined that a rebuttal expert’s testimony could have had a tendency to affect the result of Petitioner’s sentencing. Affirmed.

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