Clark v. Nooth

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 04-12-2017
  • Case #: A155558
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. pro tempore for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A determination that the “defendant poses a security concern is necessary before a court requires a defendant to appear in court wearing a restraint, even if the restraint is not visible to the jury.” Sproule v. Coursey, 276 Or App 417, 422, rev den, 359 Or 777 (2016).

Petitioner appealed the post-conviction court’s denial of his claims for post-conviction relief.  During his criminal trial, Petitioner was required to wear a leg restraint, even though there had been no determination that he presented a security risk.  Petitioner assigned error to post-conviction court's denial of his claim solely based on the finding that Petitioner was not prejudiced by the restraint because the jury was unaware of it.  On appeal, Petitioner argued the post-conviction court erred in permitting the restraints because Petitioner suffered prejudice beyond the harm that would result from the jury being aware of the restraint. A determination that the “defendant poses a security concern is necessary before a court requires a defendant to appear in court wearing a restraint, even if the restraint is not visible to the jury.” Sproule v. Coursey, 276 Or App 417, 422, rev den, 359 Or 777 (2016). In this case, Petitioner presented evidence to the post-conviction court from which a trier of fact could find that the restraint caused him to suffer other forms of prejudice, in addition to visible prejudice before the jury. The Court of Appeals concluded the post-conviction court erred in basing its rejection of Petitioner’s claim solely on the finding that the jury was unaware of the restraint.  The Court stated that “all counsel exercising reasonable professional skill and judgment would have recognized that petitioner could not be required to wear the leg restraint without a factual basis to justify it.” Reversed and remanded.

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