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State v. Seidel

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 17, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ZACHARY FRANK SEIDEL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted December 5, 2017

          Clatsop County Circuit Court 15CR23340; Cindee S. Matyas, Judge.

          Kyle Krohn, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Christopher Page, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for interfering with a peace officer, ORS 162.247, arising out of defendant's failure to obey a police officer's order to leave a public city council meeting after defendant spoke out of turn and refused to comply with the mayor's request that he leave. Defendant argues that the court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal because the police officer's order was not "lawful" under Oregon's Public Meetings Law, ORS 192.610 to 192.690. Held: The trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal. Because the Public Meetings Law does not prevent governmental bodies from maintaining order at public meetings, the officer's order, which derived from the mayor's authority, was lawful on its face.

         Affirmed.

         [294 Or.App. 390] EGAN, C. JUDGE

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for interfering with a peace officer, ORS 162.247, arising out of his failure to obey a police officer's order to leave a public meeting of the Astoria City Council after he spoke out of turn and refused to obey the mayor's request that he leave. Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal. Additionally, defendant argues that the imposition of certain conditions of probation and a $100 fee were inappropriate. We affirm the trial court's denial of defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal; decline to address the special conditions of probation as we have concluded that that issue is moot; and decline to exercise our discretion to reverse the imposition of the $100 fee. Accordingly, we affirm.

         In reviewing the trial court's denial of defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal, we view the facts in the light most favorable to the state and draw all reasonable inferences in the state's favor. State v. Lupoli, 348 Or. 346, 366, 234 P.3d 117 (2010).

         The mayor of Astoria began a city council meeting with discussion about a communication tower. The mayor allowed public comment on the tower both during and at the end of the discussion. After closing the discussion, the mayor asked if anyone objected to the council's jurisdiction to hear the next item on the agenda. At that point, defendant came up to the podium and began to speak about the communication tower. The mayor explained that defendant had missed his opportunity to address that issue, but defendant continued to talk and told the mayor, "You're under citizen's arrest." The mayor asked defendant to leave council chambers, but defendant refused and began to give the mayor Miranda warnings.

         Police Chief Bradley Johnston, who was attending the council meeting, asked the mayor if she wanted defendant removed. The mayor said yes, so Johnston approached the podium and showed his badge to defendant. Defendant greeted the chief by saying, "Hello, Chief Johnston. You're under arrest as well." Johnston asked and then ordered defendant to leave, but defendant refused. Johnston touched [294 Or.App. 391] defendant's arm, and defendant pulled away, turned, and made movements suggesting he was going to swing at Johnston. Johnston forced defendant to the ground. Defendant tried to get up and push Johnston away, while "ranting" about conspiracies and asking the attendees for help. When other officers arrived, defendant cooperated and was escorted out of the meeting.

         The state charged defendant with interference with a peace officer, as well as second-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree trespass. The case proceeded to a jury trial, where defendant represented himself with the assistance of a court-appointed legal advisor. At the close of evidence, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on the count of interfering with a peace officer on the grounds that the order that defendant refused to obey was not lawful. The court denied the motion, stating:

"[I]t appears to be undisputed evidence that the mayor, who we've established has taken an oath of office, has the directive to run the city council meetings and has the authority to preside over them and remove people, and made a decision to remove someone, you, and requested law enforcement assistance for that removal. * * * And I guess it was the question of whether or not that's a lawful order, and that's something that the jury can ...

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