Willamette Law Online

Oregon Supreme Court


ListPrevious


State v. Harrell/Wilson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-28-2013
Case #: S059461
De Muniz, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; and Durham, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S059513.pdf

Constitutional Law: When determining jury waiver provisions in Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution, the jury waiver provision is a substantive right and granting the waiver request is precedent upon analyzing judicial economy, defendant's rights, and speed against a waiver request. The prosecution's position may play a role in the decision as long as it relates to one of the three aforementioned factors; it may not be the sole factor.

On review from the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court reviewed the trial court's refusal to grant the Defendant's waiver of his right to a jury trial. In "State v. Harrell," the Defendant wished to waive his jury trial right during the jury's deliberations. The court denied his waiver and convicted the Defendant. In "State v. Wilson," the trial court declined to accept the Defendant's trial court waiver before trial and he was subsequently convicted. Under Article I, section 11 of the Oregon Constitution, the accused person may elect to waive trial by jury with the consent of the judge. This requires a written waiver and the court's consent. The Supreme Court determined the right to a speedy trial is a substantive right and the trial court should analyze the decision to waive a jury by looking at judicial economy, speed, and the defendant's rights. The prosecution's position may play a role in the decision as long as it relates to one of the three aforementioned factors; it may not be the sole factor. Therefore in "State v. Harrell," the Court's sole reliance on the prosecutor's position detrimented the Defendant. In "State v. Wilson," the trial court incorrectly based its decision on the prosecutor's objection and not because of judicial economy, speed, and defendant's rights. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.