Owen v. Taylor

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 09-07-2017
  • Case #: A158253
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J. & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to establish that trial counsel rendered inadequate assistance of counsel, a petitioner must prove two elements: (1) that counsel “failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment,” and (2) that “petitioner suffered prejudice as a result of counsel’s inadequacy.” Johnson v. Premo, 361 Or 688, 699, 399 P3d 431 (2017).

On appeal, Petitioner assigned error to the post-conviction court’s denial of relief based on his argument of inadequate assistance of counsel. Petitioner argued that a lawyer exercising reasonable professional skill and judgment would have filed eight different motions to suppress evidence discovered in the various warrantless searches that occurred during petitioner’s five-month long crime spree. Defendant, superintendent, rebutted that petitioner’s arguments ignore the fact that trial counsel’s decision not to file the motions to suppress occurred while engaged in plea negotiations. In order to establish that trial counsel rendered inadequate assistance of counsel, a petitioner must prove two elements: (1) that counsel “failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment,” and (2) that “petitioner suffered prejudice as a result of counsel’s inadequacy.” Johnson v. Premo, 361 Or 688, 699, 399 P3d 431 (2017). The Court of Appeals rejected Petitioner’s argument and opined that he had failed to demonstrate that his counsel’s performance had fallen below an objective standard of reasonableness. The Court found that under the circumstances faced by trial counsel at the time, trail counsel had little reason to think that moving to suppress would benefit the petitioner. The Court determined that counsel’s actions were a result of reasonable consideration since the motions did not pose a serious threat to the state’s ability to prosecute the petitioner and further, that the likelihood of success was small. Affirmed.

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