- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
- Date Filed: 12-01-2021
- Case #: A173041
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Aoyagi, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant was convicted of first-degree arson and reckless burning. On appeal, Defendant claimed that the trial court plainly erred by accepting his jury waiver and proceeding to a bench trial. Specifically, Defendant argued that “his decision to waive jury and proceed with a bench trial was not ‘knowing’ because, given the state of Oregon law at the time that he waived, he could not have known that, if he was tried to a jury, he was entitled to be convicted only by unanimous guilty verdict.” Under existing United States Supreme Court case law, “it is not obvious or beyond dispute that the federal constitutional right to be convicted only by unanimous jury verdict is the type of ‘relevant’ circumstance that a defendant must know for his waiver of the right to a jury trial to be knowing and intelligent.” In State v. Gomez, 310 Or. App. 693, 694, 485 P3d 314 (2021), the court rejected a similar argument on the basis that “the record was silent as to what role, if any, the presence or absence of a unanimity requirement may have played in defendant’s decision to waive jury.” The Court concluded that Defendant “unambiguously” and “affirmatively” waived the right to a jury trial. Therefore, the Court held that the trial court did not err in accepting defendant’s jury waiver and proceeding to bench trial. Affirmed.