State v. Woodall
Case #: A145961
Schuman, P.J., for the court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145961.pdf
Criminal Procedure: Offering curative jury instructions in the event that inappropriate information reaches the jury may be enough to ensure a defendant receives a fair trial.
Defendant appeals the trial court's decision to deny his demurrer and two motions for a mistrial. Defendant argues that because the range of possible sentences for rape in the third degree, a Class C felony, is shorter than the range of possible sentences for second-degree sexual abuse, a less serious crime. The Court concluded that the appropriate remedy is to vacate the sentences and remand for resentencing, not to dismiss the charges. In Defendant's second and third assignments of error, he argues he was entitled to a mistrial on two separate occasions in which is his status as a registered sex offender was exposed to the jury. On the first occasion, the status was exposed while the defense was questioning a witness. On the second occasion, two jurors overheard police officers discussing the status. The Court held that the trial court took the necessary steps to enabled Defendant to receive a fair trial by curative jury instructions.