State v. Rogers

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-11-2012
  • Case #: S053466
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Walters J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; De Muniz, J.; Durham, J; and Brewer, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An empaneling of an anonymous jury requires a finding that there are strong and particular grounds for jury identity protection. When the State relies on a defendant's history as a basis for its decision to impose capital punishment, it must demonstrate a close link between that history and defendant's future dangerousness.

Defendant was sentenced to death at trial, and per ORS 138.012(1) his case was subject to an automatic and direct review by the Supreme Court. Defendant raised 33 assignments of error, but only five were considered by the Court, two of which the Court agreed with. First, the trial court erred because it empanelled an “anonymous jury” in violation of State v. Sundberg. Weeks before voir dire, counsel for the parties agreed to a final questionnaire about the juror’s names, address, among other things. Four days prior to voir dire, the judge announced that the jurors would not be required to reveal identifying information. Defendant objected. In response, the trial judge gave a curative instruction. Second, the trial court erred because it allowed the State’s expert to testify about Defendant’s teenaged homosexual experience. The Supreme Court reversed, holding, first, since the trial court changed the voir dire process and barred Defendant from discovering other possibly relevant information about potential jurors, this was a reversible error. Next, the trial court erred when it allowed the State to introduce evidence which failed to demonstrate a link between Defendant’s homosexual experience and later dangerousness; but the Supreme Court did not decide if the error was harmless. Reversed and remanded.

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