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State v. Langley

Supreme Court of Oregon

August 1, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ROBERT PAUL LANGLEY, JR., Defendant-Appellant.

          On appellant's petition for reconsideration and motion for remand fled October 2 9, 2018; considered and under advisement on July 9, 2019. CC 88C21624. [*]

          Karen A. Steele, Salem, fled the petition for reconsideration and motion for remand on behalf of appellant. Also on the brief was Jeffrey E. Ellis, Portland.

          No appearance contra.

          Before Walters, Chief Justice, and Nakamoto, Flynn, Nelson, and Garrett, Justices, and Brewer and Baldwin, Senior Justices pro tempore. [**]

         Case Summary: Defendant sought reconsideration of the former opinion of the Court, 363 Or. 482, 424 P.3d 688, affirming his death sentence below and moved for remand to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing. Defendant raised multiple issues concerning the Court's decision, among them, challenges to three statements in the Court's opinion describing events that occurred before defendant's penalty-phase retrial. The Court modifed its opinion regarding those three statements, considered and rejected the other issues defend strained without discussion, and denied the motion.

         [365 Or. 419]NAKAMOTO, J.

         Defendant petitions for reconsideration of this court's decision in State v. Langley, 363 Or. 482, 424 P.3d 688 (2018) (Langley IV), affirming his death sentence. Defendant also moves for remand to the circuit court for an evidentiary hearing. We allow the petition for reconsideration, modify that decision as to three statements of fact, and adhere to that decision as modified. We deny the motion for remand.

         First, defendant contends in his petition for reconsideration, among other things, that this court erroneously described the facts concerning how Judge James of the Marion County Circuit Court came to preside over his penalty-phase proceedings after remand from this court pursuant to State v. Langley, 351 Or. 652, 273 P.3d 901 (2012) (Langley III). Specifically, defendant notes that the opinion's procedural narrative states that, before defendant's new sentencing trial,

"[o]n April 6, 2012, Judge Jamese Rhoades, Presiding Judge of the Marion County Circuit Court, filed a circuit court form titled Criminal Assignment Notice as part of the run-up to defendant's latest penalty-phase proceeding. In that document, Judge Rhoades assigned Judge Mary Mertens James to preside over defendant's remanded sentencing trial."

Langley IV, 363 Or at 487. Defendant argues that that statement is inaccurate because the record does not show that Judge Rhoades actually "filed" such a notice or that she was personally responsible for assigning Judge James to defendant's case.

         We agree with defendant, and we modify the opinion by disavowing the quoted text set out above and instead describe the facts through the following text:

"On April 6, 2012, the Marion County Circuit Court generated a Criminal Assignment Notice as part of the run-up to defendant's latest penalty-phase proceeding. In that document, Judge Mary Mertens James was assigned to preside over defendant's remanded sentencing trial."

         [365 Or. 420] Second, the opinion recites that, in the course of further discussing her own recusal with the parties, Judge James

"acknowledged that she and Judge Rhoades had, at some point as part of the case assignment process, discussed whether she, Judge James, could impartially preside ...

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