- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
- Date Filed: 06-16-2021
- Case #: A167433
- Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J. & Mooney, J. dissenting.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant was found guilty of multiple sex crimes and the trial court imposed mandatory minimum sentences on each conviction. Defendant appealed and assigned error to the court’s jury instructions that it could provide a non-unanimous verdict. The State was unable to sustain its burden of establishing “beyond a reasonable doubt that the … court’s instructional error was harmless.” Since the lower court’s decision in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 140 S Ct 1390 (2020), which declared non-unanimous verdicts to violate the Sixth Amendment. Moreover, instructing the jury that its verdict need not be unanimous itself results in a violation of the Sixth Amendment; defendant’s argument that the trial court erred in instructing the jury is therefore well-taken. See State v. Flores Ramos, 367 Or 292, 319, 478 P3d 515 (2020); State v. Scott, 309 Or App 615, 620, 483 P3d 701 (2021) (discussing Flores Ramos). Defendant objected to the non-unanimous jury instruction in a timely manner and proposed an alternative instruction which preserved the issue for appeal. Neither party requested a jury poll, therefore the State is unable to prove the erroneous jury instruction was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Reversed and remanded.