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State v. Rhodes

Court of Appeals of Oregon

February 21, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
BARBARA ANN RHODES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted November 5, 2018

          Washington County Circuit Court C160488CR; Janelle F. Wipper, Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Kali Montague, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Christopher Page, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and James, Judge, and Haselton, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for disorderly conduct in the second degree. ORS 166.025. She assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion and requested jury instruction regarding borderline personality disorder and the partial responsibility defense. The state contends that, although the trial court denied defendant's motion and requested jury instruction, she was allowed to present evidence of her borderline personality disorder and argue to the jury that evidence of her diagnosis established reasonable doubt as to whether the state had met its burden to prove that she formed the requisite mental states for the charged crimes. Held: Here, as in State v. Booth, 284 Or. 615, 588 P2d 614 (1978), although the trial court denied defendant's motion and requested jury instruction raising the partial responsibility defense, any error in failing to give the jury instruction was harmless. The trial court properly instructed the jury as to the state's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the charged crimes, including intent.

         Affirmed.

         [296 Or.App. 210] JAMES, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for disorderly conduct in the second degree. ORS 166.025. She assigns error to the trial court's denial of her pretrial motion to declare borderline personality disorder a mental disease or defect for purposes of ORS 161.300 (2016), amended by Oregon Laws 2017, chapter 634, section 4. In particular, defendant argues she was prevented from presenting evidence of, and instructing the jury on, the issue of borderline personality disorder as a mental disease or defect as part of a partial responsibility defense under ORS 161.300 (2016). In response, the state argues that, although the trial court denied defendant's pretrial motion, she was allowed to present evidence about her borderline personality disorder and develop the defense during the trial. The state adds that defendant argued to the jury that the evidence of her borderline personality disorder established reasonable doubt as to whether the state had met its burden to prove that defendant formed the requisite mental states for the charged crimes after the trial court instructed the jury on intent and the state's burden. We conclude that the trial court did not commit reversible error in denying defendant's motion and, in light of State v. Booth, 284 Or. 615, 588 P2d 614 (1978), and the facts here, any error resulting from the trial court's failure to instruct the jury on the partial responsibility defense is harmless. Accordingly, we affirm.

         Defendant was having suicidal ideation and went to the emergency room. She wrote a note to the receptionist stating that she was suicidal and sat down in the waiting room. After waiting for 15 minutes, defendant felt that the hospital staff did not believe that she was suicidal, so she walked out of the emergency room and into a busy three-lane road. She stood in the middle of traffic and yelled.

         A hospital security guard intervened, trying to escort defendant out of the road and onto the sidewalk. Defendant returned to the middle of the road and the hospital security guard called for assistance. Two police officers arrived and eventually arrested defendant and transported [296 Or.App. 211] her to jail. For that conduct, the state charged defendant with second-degree disorderly conduct, among other things.[1]

         Before trial, defendant filed a motion seeking an order from the trial court declaring borderline personality disorder a mental disease or defect for purposes of ORS 161.300 (2016). In particular, she notified the trial court that she was raising a partial responsibility defense and that she intended to offer evidence of mental disease or defect as it related to the mental state for the charged crimes. Defendant also requested that the jury be instructed as to the following:

"You may consider evidence that the Defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect in making your decision whether the Defendant had the mental state that is required ...

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