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State v. Martino

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-21-2011
Case #: A142498
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A142498.pdf

Criminal Procedure: The argument that a defendant’s failure to object to an erroneous ruling was waived because it was a strategic choice to have the court believe that the defendant was remorseful is not plausible.

Defendant was convicted of multiple felonies committed against his wife. The lower court ordered the Defendant to pay a compensatory fine of $10,000 to his wife for mental health treatment pursuant to ORS 137.101. Defendant did not object to the fine. Defendant argued on appeal that the imposition of the fine was plain error. The Court of Appeals agreed with the State in that a defendant, in the absence of any evidence of pecuniary harm to the victim, may waive their objection if the defendant chose, for some strategic reason, not to object to an otherwise erroneous ruling. However, the Court went on further to say that the State had the burden of showing that this strategic reasoning was plausible. The Court determined that the State’s argument that Defendant abstained from objecting because the Defendant would have been perceived as unremorseful was not plausible. The Court also rejected the State’s argument that it could have produced the necessary evidence if Defendant had timely objected. Reverse and remanded for resentencing.