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Oregon v. Cox

January 19, 1973

STATE OF OREGON, RESPONDENT,
v.
MELVIN LUTHER COX, APPELLANT



Appeal from Circuit Court, Multnomah County. Alfred T. Sulmonetti, Judge. No. C-59800.

William C. Snouffer, Portland, argued the cause and filed the brief for appellant.

John W. Osburn, Solicitor General, Salem, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Lee Johnson, Attorney General, Salem.

Langtry, Judge. Schwab, Chief Judge, and Thornton, Judge.

Langtry

Defendant appeals from conviction of first-degree murder.*fn1 Former ORS 163.010. The evidence

which proved the murder, if believed, was that on May 28, 1970 defendant and another man while armed robbed the Freeway Bar in Portland, Oregon, and that the defendant in the course of the robbery shot and killed the bartender. Defendant was positively identified by four witnesses who were among those present in the bar at the time. Fingerprints taken from a vacated hotel room in the vicinity three days later were those of the defendant, who was apprehended some time later in Tennessee. Defendant was also identified by the hotel clerk as having been an occupant of the room.

The exhibits and statements of counsel in pretrial arguments to the court indicate that after the robbery and murder in Portland defendant was involved in a murder in Lewiston, Idaho of which he was convicted, a bank robbery in Tennessee of which he was convicted, and the shooting of an officer in Illinois. Defendant was also charged with and later convicted of another Tennessee bank robbery which occurred before the Portland murder.

Numerous claims of error have been argued by the defendant which are treated separately below.

DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF SPEEDY TRIAL.

This contention revolves principally around what defendant calls the failure to honor his demand for a speedy trial after he was apprehended and in the custody of federal officials in Tennessee. Defendant wrote a letter from Tennessee to the Multnomah County District Attorney on January 18, 1971, soon after his federal convictions for bank robbery, in which he demanded a speedy trial. The Multnomah County District Attorney's office corresponded with him soon

thereafter. On March 16, 1971 Cox was sentenced for his federal bank robbery convictions. Thereafter, he was successively moved by federal officials from Knoxville, Tennessee, to El Reno, Oklahoma, to Lompoc, California, to Lewiston, Idaho for the Idaho murder prosecution, from there to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then to the federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois on October 27, 1971. On December 16, 1971, prompted by the Multnomah County District Attorney's efforts, he was ordered transferred to Oregon for trial. Once in Oregon for trial, three different counsel were appointed for him over a period of a month and delay in commencing his trial thereafter was due more to his own motions and allowing time for his counsel to prepare for his trial than ...


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