and submitted October 26, 2017
Washington County Circuit Court C142909CR; Thomas W. Kohl,
Kenneth A. Kreuscher argued the cause and fled the brief for
Christopher R. Page, Assistant Attorney General, argued the
cause for respondent. With him on the briefs were Ellen F.
Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor
DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi,
appeals from a judgment of conviction for five counts of
sexual abuse in the first degree. During voir dire, in
response to questioning by defense counsel, a prospective
juror who was previously employed by the Department of Human
Services stated that he would give weight to the testimony of
certain state's witnesses and that he would do so despite
recognizing that it was "partial" to do so.
Defendant moved to strike the prospective juror for cause.
The trial court denied the motion. On appeal from his
subsequent conviction, defendant asserts that the trial court
abused its discretion by not striking the prospective juror.
Held: The trial court abused its discretion. The
prospective juror's statements during voir dire called
into question his ability to decide the case fairly and
impartially, and this was not a situation in which the trial
court could evaluate contradictory statements and thereby
determine in its exercise of discretion that the juror was
not actually biased.
Or.App. 286] AOYAGI, J.
appeals a judgment of conviction for five counts of sexual
abuse. In his first assignment of error, he argues that the
trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion
to strike a prospective juror, Juror 11, for cause. Because
we agree with defendant, we reverse and remand for a new
trial, and we do not reach his other assignments of error.
relevant facts are procedural and undisputed. The state
charged defendant with five counts of sexual abuse in the
first degree, ORS 163.427, based on alleged incidents
involving his two daughters, aged 11 and 12 years old. During
the voir dire portion of jury selection, defense
counsel questioned potential jurors in aid of making
challenges for cause and exercising peremptory challenges.
One potential juror was Juror 11. Juror 11 had identified
himself as having worked for the Department of Human Services
(DHS), which led to the following exchange with defense
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: *** You work for DHS?
"JUROR 11: I did.