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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Oregon

April 10, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
OLAN JERMAINE WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted October 18, 2018.

          Multnomah County Circuit Court 15CR58698 Bronson D. James, Judge.

          Marc D. Brown, 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.

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

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Powers, Judge.[*]

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of first-degree sodomy. He raises three assignments of error, and the Court of Appeals rejected, without written discussion, all but his second assignment of error, in which he asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. Specifically, defendant contends that the nonunanimous verdict provision in Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution, as applied to his criminal case, is unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         Held:

         Because defendant's as-applied challenge to the nonunanimous verdict is not reviewable on appeal, the Court of Appeals could not conclude that the trial court committed error.

         Affirmed.

         [297 Or.App. 17] ORTEGA, P. J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of first-degree sodomy, ORS 163.405. He raises three assignments of error, and we reject, without written discussion, all but his second assignment of error, in which he asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. Specifically, defendant contends that the nonunanimous verdict provision in Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution, as applied to his criminal case, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, because defendant's as-applied challenge to the nonunanimous verdict is not reviewable on appeal, we must affirm.

         The facts for our purposes are procedural. Defendant is black and was accused of sodomizing a white victim. He was indicted on two counts of sodomy in the first degree and, after a two-and-one-half day trial, the jury unanimously acquitted him of one count, but returned a 10-2 verdict of guilty on the second count. Defendant's attorney neither requested a unanimous jury instruction nor objected to the nonunanimous jury verdict.

         At sentencing, one of the jurors informed the court that she was the only black person on the jury-and one of the two jurors who voted to acquit-and that she believed defendant's conviction was unfair. The trial court ...


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