State v. Bray

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-12-2016
  • Case #: A153162
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, Defendant’s right to compel Prosecution to disclose material and exculpatory information does not extend to information in the hands of a private entity. Where Defendant’s Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause right is in conflict with Victim’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the court may conduct an in camera review of evidence in order to protect Victim’s privacy.

Defendant appealed conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to compel the State to subpoena Google for evidence of Victim’s internet usage. A district attorney must turn over important and exculpatory information to the Defendant if it is within the DA’s control (ORS 135.855), meaning either: an entity is required to disclose it to the DA; or the DA may obtain it directly.  The Court held the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to compel the prosecution to obtain Victim’s Google information, because Google’s information was neither required to be disclosed nor was the DA able to obtain it directly. Furthermore, the Court held that under the Federal Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, Defendant’s right to compel the DA to disclose material and exculpatory information does not extend to evidence in the hands of a private entity, such as Google. Defendant also argued that the trial court violated his Sixth Amendment right under the Confrontation Clause when State failed to compel Victim to hand over her computer to be examined. The State argued at trial that requiring Victim to hand over her computer would have violated Victim’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. At trial, the court denied Defendant’s motion to compel, reasoning that irrelevant personal information on Victim’s computer would not be adequately protected by a protective order.  The Court held that, pursuant to Zolin, Victim’s computer information may be obtained and reviewed by the court in camera in order to protect Victim’s irrelevant personal information.  Reversed and remanded.

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