State v. Mills

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-17-2013
  • Case #: S060485
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the court
  • Full Text Opinion

Article I Section 11 of the Oregon Constitution does not require the State to prove venue as a material element of a crime.

The Oregon Constitution recognizes in criminal prosecutions, that a defendant has the right to a trial in the county where the offense was committed. The issue in this case was whether Article I, Section 11, requires the State to prove the location where the offense was committed beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. The State argued that the language of the Oregon Constitution did not require such proof because the constitution merely grants a right to object to improper venue, which the defendant failed to assert before trial. Defendant argued that Oregon Supreme Court case law interprets Article I, Section 11, requires the State to prove the location where the offense was committed as a material allegation. The Court of Appeals held that the State must prove the location where the offense was committed beyond a reasonable doubt, and failed to do so in this case. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that earlier case law was mistaken regarding Article I, Section 11, which required the State to prove venue. The right to a trial in the county where the offense was committed must be asserted before trial. However, the court further concluded that Defendant did not forfeit his venue right in this case because he was permitted to raise the issue during trial under case law at the time of trial. Reversed and remanded.

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