Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Hunt

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 22, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAVID BENJAMIN HUNT, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted March 26, 2019.

          Yamhill County Circuit Court 17CR09740; Ladd J. Wiles, Judge.

          Anne Fujita Munsey, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Office of Public Defense Services.

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

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and James, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for possession and delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894 and ORS 475.890(2), challenging the denial of a motion for a mistrial. Defendant contends that a sergeant's testimony that defendant “wanted to talk” but “did not want to waive his rights” prejudiced the trial's fairness by raising the inference that, out of guilt, defendant exercised his right to remain silent. He argues that a jury instruction to “disregard” the testimony failed to cure the error. The state counters that defendant's claim is unpreserved, noting that he requested and failed to object to the curative instruction. The state also claims that the testimony was not prejudicial and that the instruction addressed any potential harm. Held: Defendant's motion for a mistrial remained preserved despite the instruction. The testimony denied defendant a fair trial because it gave rise to an adverse inference of guilt. Nothing diverted the jury's attention from that inference, and the curative instruction failed to negate it.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [297 Or.App. 598] DEVORE, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for possession and delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894 and ORS 475.890(2). He assigns error to the denial of his motion for a mistrial. Defendant argues that his ability to have a fair trial was prejudiced by an officer's testimony that defendant "did not want to waive his rights," because the jury likely inferred that he chose not to speak with police because he was guilty. He argues that a curative jury instruction to disregard the testimony failed to cure the error. We agree, reverse, and remand.

         The relevant facts are undisputed. Drug enforcement officers were investigating individuals suspected of drug dealing. Seeing a vehicle associated with the suspects, they followed it, saw traffic infractions, and initiated a traffic stop. Defendant sat in the front passenger seat. A detective asked several questions of defendant, and he answered. A drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the odor of drugs, prompting a vehicle search. Police asked that defendant and his companions get out of the vehicle, and they handcuffed defendant and advised him of his rights. The search revealed 221.08 grams of methamphetamine in the rear compartment of the vehicle, as well as drug paraphernalia in various other locations. Defendant was placed under arrest and charged with four felony offenses.

         At defendant's trial, the state examined Sergeant Geist, one of the officers who spoke to defendant at the scene of the traffic stop. The problematic testimony occurred in this exchange:

"[PROSECUTOR]: Okay. After you assisted in the search, what did you do?
"[SERGEANT]: I then interviewed the driver.
"[PROSECUTOR]: Did you interview the passenger?
"[SERGEANT]: I did, yes.
"[PROSECUTOR]: Okay. And who did you identify the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.