Green v. Franke

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 06-04-2015
  • Case #: S062231
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

In post-conviction proceedings where petitioner argues inadequate representation at trial which resulted in prejudice to the case, the proper standards to apply are (1) whether trial counsel’s acts or omissions constituted inadequate assistance of counsel when viewed in light of counsel’s trial strategy; and (2) whether trial counsel’s acts or omissions, with consideration of trial strategy, “could have tended to affect” the outcome of the case.

Green (Petitioner) sought post-conviction relief from a jury decision convicting him of eighteen sex offenses against nine underage victims. Petitioner argued that he was represented at trial by constitutionally inadequate counsel, who prejudiced Petitioner’s case by failing to request a limiting instruction that the jury only consider evidence of each crime separately, potentially prohibiting the jury from concluding that Petitioner had the propensity to commit additional sex offenses. The post-conviction court denied relief, the Court of Appeals reversed, and now this Court reviewed to determine petitioner’s burden to establish (1) that trial counsel performed inadequately; and (2) that trial counsel’s inadequate performance was prejudicial. Petitioner was charged with forcible sexual assault against six victims, and conceded to consensual sexual contact to three underage victims. Petitioner defended against the remaining six charges by arguing that the victims had consented to sexual contact. The State argued that trial counsel had developed a strategy to show that consent was present to defend against the charges of forcible sexual contact by using evidence from other victims to prompt the jury to infer that consent may have been present for each victim, and therefore the limiting instruction was inconsistent with trial strategy. The State argued that the lower court had applied the wrong standard in determining that trial counsel’s inadequacy had prejudiced petitioner’s case. The Court determined that the post-conviction court had erred by failing to determine whether trial counsel’s failure to request a limiting instruction was consistent with trial strategy, and had focused only on whether that had prejudiced the case. Reversed and remanded to the post-conviction court.

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