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State v. Spainhower

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-05-2012
Case #: A145036
Brewer, P.J. for the Court; and Haselton, C.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145035.pdf

Criminal Procedure: ORS 33.096 requires a court to impose sanctions for contempt at or before the defendant’s trial in which the contempt was held unless there is an overriding interest for delay.

Defendant appealed a judgment that imposed a sanction for summary contempt. On May 19, 2009, Defendant, who was upset with receiving a guilty verdict, vehemently objected even after the trial court told Defendant to be quite. The trial court held Defendant in contempt but did not impose the sanction until March 1, 2010 after a subsequent re-trial acquitting Defendant. Defendant argued that under ORS 33.096 the court lacked authority to impose a sanction “summarily” because of the months-long delay. The State argued that the “summary” nature of ORS 33.096 refers to “the absence of procedure, rather that the immediacy of a sanction.” Defendant appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed holding that absent some overriding reason for delay, which the State failed to demonstrate, ORS 33.096 required imposing contempt sanctions at or before a defendant’s criminal trial. Reversed