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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 14, 2013

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
KEVIN SHANNON JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

Submitted on remand March 13, 2013.

On remand from the Oregon Supreme Court Lane County Circuit Court 200907188, State v. Jones, 353 Or 208, 297 P.3d 480 (2013). Debra K. Vogt, Judge.

Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, and David O. Ferry, Deputy Public Defender, Office of Public Defense Services, filed the briefs for appellant.

John R. Kroger, Attorney General, Mary H. Williams, Solicitor General, and Tiffany Keast, Assistant Attorney General, filed the opening brief for respondent. Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Tiffany Keast, Assistant Attorney General, filed the supplemental brief.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Haselton, Chief Judge, and Egan, Judge.


This case is before us on remand. In our initial decision, we affirmed defendant's convictions, following a jury trial, for numerous crimes of domestic violence committed against his wife; in so holding, we concluded, inter alia, that defendant had failed to adequately preserve his arguments concerning the proper application of the test from State v. Johns, 301 Or 535, 725 P.2d 312 (1986), to certain "prior bad acts" evidence introduced at trial. State v. Jones, 246 Or.App. 412, 417-18, 266 P.3d 151 (2011) (Jones I), vac'd and rem'd, 353 Or 208, 297 P.3d 480 (2013). On review, the Oregon Supreme Court, without specific amplification, vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of State v. Leistiko, 352 Or 172, 282 P.3d 857, modified on recons, 352 Or 622, 292 P.3d 522 (2012). As explained below, although we adhere to our prior conclusion that defendant failed to preserve the asserted error, we now conclude that the error is apparent on the record, ORAP 5.45(1), and exercise our discretion to review and remedy that error. See Ailes v. Portland Meadows, Inc., 312 Or 376, 381-82, 823 P.2d 956 (1991). Accordingly, we reverse and remand.

In Jones I, we did not describe the disputed evidence, because the particular nature of that evidence was, ultimately, immaterial to our preservation analysis and disposition. However, on remand, a description of the predicate circumstances, including the disputed evidence, is essential context for our consideration of Leistiko's applicability. Accordingly, we recount those circumstances in some detail.

This case involves charges that defendant assaulted, strangled, sodomized, and menaced his wife over the course of several weeks in March 2009. The charges involved, among other things, allegations that defendant pulled out one of the complainant's teeth, burned her tongue and hand with a cigarette, beat her with a boot, a crescent wrench, a hammer, a fire extinguisher, and barbeque tongs, cut her with a knife, shaved off her eyebrows and some of her hair, forced her to lick a toilet, urinated in her mouth, and burned her genitals with a lighter.

The state's theory of the case was that defendant inflicted the various injuries because he was enraged at the complainant for sleeping with other people. The complainant testified that defendant's purpose in causing the injuries was to make her less attractive to other men. Defendant's defense was not that the complainant's injuries had not occurred or had not been inflicted intentionally--but, instead, that someone other than himself had inflicted them.

As pertinent to our review in Jones I, and now on remand, the state sought to introduce prior bad acts evidence of an alleged assault by defendant against his former girlfriend, JM, with whom defendant had lived approximately two years before the charged incidents occurred.[1] JM travelled with defendant in his semi-truck for approximately five days and, during that journey, she told him she wanted to go home, but he would not take her home. He would not let her make telephone calls. During the trip, defendant accused JM of being unfaithful to him, threatened to cut her with a box- cutter, threatened to kill her brother, threw a cup at her, hit her with his fists, a shoe, and a pipe, choked her, cut off her clothing, and twisted her nipples with a pair of pliers. JM testified that defendant's stated purpose when he threatened to cut her was to make her less attractive.

The state argued before the trial court that the evidence pertaining to the alleged assault against JM satisfied the cumulative multi-element test for admissibility prescribed in Johns.[2] Defendant's sole argument before the trial court in opposing the admissibility of that evidence was that it did not meet certain of Johns's criteria (viz., the third, fourth, and fifth requisites); defendant did not argue that the Johns methodology was categorically inapplicable for any reason. Jones I, 246 Or.App. at 414, 418.

The trial court determined that the disputed evidence satisfied the Johns requisites, including those that defendant had specifically contested. Id. at 416. The jury subsequently convicted defendant on 19 counts, all relating to defendant's alleged conduct against the complainant. Id. at 414.

On appeal in Jones I, defendant challenged the admissibility of the evidence pertaining to JM, but did so on a qualitatively different basis than that presented before the trial court. Rather than contending that the evidence was inadmissible because it did not satisfy certain of Johns's requisites (a contention that he did not renew on appeal), defendant contended, for the first time, that the evidence was categorically inadmissible "because his intent was not at issue in this case" in that "his theory at trial was that the victim was lying and the crimes never took place." Id. at 416. We declined to address that argument as unpreserved. In so holding, we referred to the practical and prudential underpinnings of the preservation doctrine and emphasized that defendant's appellate contention as to the categorical inadmissibility of the evidence was qualitatively different from that ...

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