- Court: Oregon Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
- Date Filed: 12-22-2022
- Case #: S068908
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Walters, C.J.; Blamer, J.; Duncan, J.; Nelson, J.; Garrett, J.; & Linder, S.J., Justice pro tempore.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed convictions of sex offenses, assigning error to the trial court’s joinder of charges arising from two separate incidents involving two different victims. Defendant argued that joinder of the separate incidents substantially prejudiced his trial because the evidence of one unrelated charge improperly influenced the jury regarding the other charge, leading to a substantial detriment at trial. The State argued that substantial prejudice only occurs when it harms a defendant’s ability to get a fair trial. Under ORS 132.560(3), a court may sever claims from joinder when “the state or defendant is substantially prejudiced by a joinder of offenses. . .” The Court found that the Oregon statute was modeled after the federal joinder rules and reasoned that under the federal joinder rules, joinder would substantially prejudice a defendant only if it would confuse the jury, require the defendant to present conflicting defenses, or the jury would find the defendant guilty of one of the crimes simply because they found the defendant guilty of one of the other crimes. United States v. Foutz, 540 F2d 733, 736 (4th Cir 1976). Although the evidence had arguably been introduced when the prosecutor was making a "clarification," Defendant did not respond or offer an alternative theory. The Court found that the trial court identified the substantially prejudicial evidence and did not include that testimony; furthermore neither victim testified to the prejudicial evidence. Affirmed.