State v. McAnulty

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-30-2014
  • Case #: S059476
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Baldwin, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Statements improperly obtained and used during sentencing were in violation of Defendant’s rights, but were harmless where statements subsequently obtained and admitted were more serious. The jury would have found the improperly admitted statements duplicative or unhelpful.

Defendant abused and neglected her daughter. Severe and prolonged starvation, dehydration, physical injuries and localized infections ultimately lead to Jeanette’s death. After a failed motion to suppress evidence obtained during police questioning, Defendant pled guilty and a jury sentenced her to death. The case went to the Oregon Supreme Court for automatic and direct review of the death sentence. Defendant raised 18 assignments of error. The Court held that Defendant’s right to remain silent under Article I, Section 12, of the Oregon Constitution and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution was violated after invocation during her first interrogation, but that the error was harmless because statements properly obtained and admitted from the third and fourth interrogations were more serious than the admissions from the first and second interrogations, the jury would have found the improperly admitted statements duplicative or unhelpful, and Defendant was advised of her Miranda rights prior to the first and fourth interrogations. Defendant argued that the violation nonetheless created a coercive environment that rendered her subsequent statements involuntary, which the Court rejected, holding the trial court did not err in admitting the statements during sentencing because Defendant’s statements were not obtained by threats or promises, Defendant reinitiated conversations with police after invocation, Defendant was given Miranda warnings again before the fourth interrogation, and the third and fourth interrogations rendered qualitatively different statements. The Court held the Defendant’s motion for acquittal on the second sentencing question was properly denied because the evidence was sufficient to permit an inference beyond a reasonable doubt that it was probable Defendant would commit future criminal acts of violence and a jury could have reasonably inferred it was sufficiently probable Defendant would target, control, and dominate other individuals and commit criminal acts of violence against them. Affirmed.

Advanced Search