State v. Nix

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-05-2015
  • Case #: S060875
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Appeals under ORS 138.222(4) are only available in felony cases; writs of mandamus must be specifically requested, or in exceptional circumstances, may be allowed where the required information is available; and Oregon appellate decisions rendered without appellate authority must be vacated.

Defendant was charged with 11 counts of second-degree animal neglect, but the trial court merged the charges into one misdemeanor conviction. The State appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction. This Court affirmed that judgment in 2014, but the State filed a motion to stay the issuance of the judgment, conceding that ORS 138.222(4) only applies to felonies. The State argued that this Court could have reviewed the case on mandamus and that the State could have filed a writ of mandamus. Defendant argued that the state was unable to appeal the case and the prior decisions of this Court and the Court of Appeals should be vacated. The Court addressed each of these arguments, and held that ORS 138.222 only grants authority for the State to appeal felony cases, and without statutory authority, there is no basis for this appeal. The Court further held that the State may not avail itself of mandamus, as there was no request for mandamus, nor the required information to support a writ of mandamus. The Court held that it lacked appellate authority in its 2014 decision, as did the correlative Court of Appeals decision, and vacated both—thereby dismissing the state’s appeal. This court’s decision in State v. Nix, 355 Or 777, 334 P3d 437 (2014), and the Court of Appeals decision in State v. Nix, 251 Or App 449, 283 P3d 442 (2012), are vacated. The State’s appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

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