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September 20, 2004

Court of Appeals to Hear Oral Arguments Here Monday, Sept. 27th

Legal Research and Writing Program Hosts Oregon Court of Appeals

 
 
A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments at the UO School of Law on Monday, September 27 from 8:30 A.M. until 4:30 P.M. in the Knight Law Center auditorium. They will hear appeals in a Eugene harassment case involving a psychiatrist and a former patient, a Lane County trust case involving Goodwill Industries, a Baker City kidnapping case, a Douglas county job discrimination case, a Klamath county juvenile detention case, a Salem case involving a collective bargaining agreement and several others.
 
The three-judge panel consists of Judge David Brewer 77, the presiding judge of the panel, Judge David Schuman 84, and Judge Mary Ann Bearden 78 pro tempore. The Court of Appeals hears most appeals in Salem but also hears appeals in other locations throughout the state. This program is designed to give Oregon citizens a first-hand opportunity to observe and learn about Oregon’s judicial system.
 
The court’s visit is sponsored by the law school’s Legal Research and Writing Program. LRW Director Suzanne Rowe says, We have an interesting variety of cases: criminal, evidence, trusts, and more. The judges will lunch with students from noon to 1:30 in the faculty lounge.
 
CASE SUMMARIES:
 
Times are approximate

8:30 a.m. State v. Jason Andrew Wright (Case #1)

Defendant was charged in 2000 with first degree kidnapping and first degree attempted rape. The alleged victim testified during trial that she woke up in a Baker City motel room with Defendant after having become extremely intoxicated the night before. She remembered attempting to walk to the house where she was staying but having to sit down in an alley because of her intoxication. She remembered nothing between that time and waking up in Defendant’s motel room. She testified that she attempted to leave the motel room a number of times but that Defendant physically prevented her from doing so, demanding that she have sexual intercourse with him. Defendant was convicted by a jury of both charges, and now appeals.

9:30 a.m. State v. Lee Russel Stubbs (Case #2)

In 2000, Defendant pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, failure to perform the duties of a driver, and tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced for each of those crimes. The issues on appeal are whether all three sentences should run consecutively and whether Defendant should receive credit for time served between his arrest and conviction.

 
10:30 a.m. State ex rel Juvenile Dept. of Klamath County v. Vera Beth Hughes (Case #3)

On November 6, 2002, Youth was adjudicated delinquent and placed on probation for theft. As conditions of her probation, the court ordered her to keep her parents informed of her whereabouts, attend after-school tutoring, and follow school rules. She later violated those conditions. The juvenile court imposed eight days of detention at a juvenile detention center for the probation violations. It also held her in contempt of court for willfully violating the court’s order, and it imposed an additional eight days of detention. On appeal, Youth argues that the contempt sanction was improperly imposed as punishment rather than rehabilitation.

10:45 a.m. George C. Kjaer and Eunice Kjaer v. Alice J. Rothschild (Case #4)

Plaintiff George Kjaer was Defendant’s psychiatrist. In 2001, after their doctor-patient relationship ended, Defendant was charged with telephonically harassing him. The parties entered into a settlement agreement in which Defendant agreed not to initiate telephonic contact or intentional personal contact with Plaintiff Kjaer or his wife. Defendant also agreed to pay a monetary penalty if she violated the agreement in the future. After Defendant later initiated contact with Plaintiffs three times, Plaintiffs filed a complaint. When Defendant failed to file an answer, Plaintiffs obtained a default judgment against her. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to set aside the default judgment for excusable neglect, and Defendant appeals

 
11:15 a.m. Rita Gibson v. Douglas County (Case #5)
 
Plaintiff was employed by Douglas County for 17 years as a parole and probation officer. In August 2000, Plaintiff was placed on administrative leave and escorted from the building by her supervisor and an armed escort following allegations that she had engaged in a romantic relationship with Dodge, a probationer who had been under her supervision. It was also alleged that Plaintiff had been dishonest in denying the relationship and had allowed Dodge to handle her gun. Plaintiff was later dismissed. She appealed the dismissal to the Personnel Review Board and the Board of Commissioners, both of which affirmed. Plaintiff then filed this separate action for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and gender discrimination. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the county. Among the issues on appeal are whether Plaintiff was required to first seek judicial review of the Board of Commissioners’ decision; whether there were factual issues concerning the county’s reasons for dismissing her; and whether Plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of discrimination to create an issue for the jury.
 
[The Court will be in recess from 11:45 until 1:15.]

1:15 p.m. State v. Teeters (Case #6)

Defendant appeals his conviction for assault, burglary and criminal mischief stemming from a 2001 Portland incident in which he allegedly hit the side of the victim’s trailer with a stick, fought with the victim, and took some of his property. The incident occurred when defendant went to the victim’s trailer in order to find and take home his sometime domestic partner, whom he had recently evicted from his house due to her methamphetamine use. Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court should have allowed Defendant to introduce evidence of his domestic partner’s and the victim’s drug use because that evidence was relevant (1) to impeach the victim’s testimony; (2) to show that the victim, having ingested methamphetamine, was likely to be aggressive and paranoid; and (3) to show that Defendant’s domestic partner was likely to have a flawed memory of the events that took place on the evening of the attack. Acknowledging that relevant evidence may be suppressed if its tendency to unfairly prejudice the fact finder outweighs its probative value, Defendant also argues that the trial court failed to engage in the mandatory process of balancing those two factors.

 

2:15 p.m. State v. Kenney (Case #7)

 

In 2003, Defendant fell asleep at the wheel on I-5 near Roseburg. Her car left the road, hit a tree and caught fire. Defendant was convicted of violating ORS 811.370, for failure to drive within a lane. The appeal concerns the definition of the term operating a vehicle, as used in the statute. Defendant argues that, because she was asleep, she was incapable of operating the vehicle, because to operate something, a person must be in control of it, and a person cannot be in control while asleep. The state responds that, according to Webster’s, to operate means to * * * put or keep in operation whether with personal effort or not. The state also argues that to construe the statute as Defendant does would not further the purpose of the vehicle code, which is to maintain safety on the state’s highways.

 

3:15 p.m. Goodwill Industries v. US Bank (Case #8)

 

Opal Baron created a trust and provided that, upon her death, most of the personal and real property should be distributed to one of her sisters, with the remainder falling to Goodwill Industries of Lane County. The sister unexpectedly died before Ms. Baron, but the trust had made no explicit provision for that eventuality. When Ms. Baron subsequently died, US Bank, the Trustee, petitioned the court for an interpretation of the trust to determine who should receive the sister’s share. The court determined that the relevant provision was ambiguous; that the sister’s entitlement ended with her death; that her share was to be distributed as if by Oregon laws of intestate succession; and that Goodwill Industries was not entitled to any part of the trust. Goodwill appeals.

3:45 p.m. Robert Cramblit v. Diamond B Constructors (Case #9)

 
In 2002, Plaintiff sought statutory penalties for late payment of wages he earned while working on a construction project for Defendant in Salem. The trial court dismissed his action with prejudice and awarded attorney fees to Defendant. Plaintiff’s appeal raises numerous arguments, including whether Defendant’s failure to pay the wages was willful. Also at issue are the implications of a collective bargaining agreement.

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