Holbrook v. Blacketter
Case #: A135654
Sercombe, J., for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Brewer, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Pages/OpinionsCOA2013.aspx
Post-Conviction Relief: Under OEC 401, testimony of trial counsel is not irrelevant merely because the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Bar trial panel.
Holbrook appealed denial of his claim for post-conviction relief. In his claim for post-conviction relief, Holbrook alleged his trial counsel was constitutionally inadequate for failing to prepare and object to the prosecutor’s cross-examination questions during his second trial. After being convicted of one count of first-degree sexual abuse, Holbrook filed a complaint with the Oregon State Bar, claiming the prosecutor made improper statements to jurors from his first trial. The Bar brought action against the prosecutor and determined the statements were improper, but the Supreme Court reversed the decision. Holbrook claims it was error for the post-conviction court to exclude his trial counsel’s testimony from the Bar disciplinary proceeding on the ground that it was irrelevant because the Supreme Court reversed the decision. Under OEC 401, relevant evidence is any evidence having a tendency to make a fact more or less probable. The Court of Appeals held that testimony is not irrelevant merely because the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Bar trial panel. The trial counsel’s testimony is relevant to demonstrate his knowledge of events and state of mind during the prosecutor’s cross-examination and the error was not harmless. Reversed and remanded.