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State v. Hemenway

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-04-2013
Case #: S059392

Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S059085A.pdf

Civil Procedure: When considering equitable factors to determine whether a vacatur is an appropriate remedy, the factor that a party caused the mootness by their own involuntary action, such as death during an appeal, should weigh in favor of vacatur.

On a motion to vacate, Defense counsel requested the Supreme Court to overturn their decision in State v. Hemenway, 353 Or 129 (2013), arguing that the defendant had died over a year prior unbeknownst to the counsel at the time and thus was necessarily moot. Further, defense counsel asserts that the proper disposition of the case, as argued by the petition for reconsideration, was to remand to the trial court for further proceedings and since the defendant was deceased, thus could no longer take further steps in the trial court to undo his conviction, the Supreme Court should vacate the defendants conviction. The state countered, not contesting the mootness of the disposition, but rather that the court must consider equitable factors when considering this extra ordinary remedy and because overturning the prior decision would cause confusion among the lower courts as to the issues adjudicated within, that this factor weighed more heavily in opposition to the defendants minimal interest of overturning and vacating his conviction. The supreme court decided that the case was moot. Further, the court noted that they had established that equitable factors must be considered when making a decision to overturn and vacate precedent, however involuntarily caused mootness on behalf of the defendant by his death was an equitable factor the court should consider. Vacated.