State v. McCright

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 12-07-2016
  • Case #: A155427
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, S.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

(1) Under State v. Bates a trial court judge’s decision to maintain restraints on a defendant throughout trial without justification is error. The error is harmless if the proceeding is without a jury, which reduces the likelihood of prejudice, and there is no showing that the use of restraints substantially affects the trial court’s fact finding.

McCright appealed a judgment of conviction of 20 theft-related offenses. Specifically, McCright argued that (1) the trial court erred in requiring him to wear a restraint on one of his hands during trial; and (2) under State v. Mills, 354 Or 350 (2013) his convictions on certain counts must be reversed and remanded so as to afford him an opportunity to dispute venue, including by way of controverting the State’s evidence if he so elects. As to McCright’s first argument, the Court found that the trial court erred when it maintained McCright’s hand restraint without requisite justification, but in the totality of the circumstances, that error was harmless because this was a proceeding without a jury, which greatly reduced the likelihood of prejudice. State v. Bates, 203 Or App 245 (2005). As to McCright’s second argument, the Court held that in Mills, remand was necessary because the defendant did not have an opportunity to litigate venue. In this case, McCright had an opportunity to fully litigate venue, which meant there was no unfairness that called for remand. State v. Anderson, 264 Or App 183 (2014). Affirmed.

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