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Petitioner ACN Opportunity, LLC (ACN) sold satellite television, telephone, internet, and home security services, as well as some goods related to those services, through a network of direct-to-consumer sellers that it calls “independent business owners” (IBOs). The Employment Department determined that ACN was an employer and thus was required to pay unemployment insurance tax on earnings that ACN paid to the IBOs for their sales work. An administrative law judge (ALJ) affirmed that determination, concluding that the IBOs did not fall within the exemption from employment under ORS 657.087(2) and were not independent contractors under ORS 670.600. ACN appealed the department’s final order, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Oregon Supreme Court accepted review of this case primarily to address the statutory interpretation questions that this case presented. First, the Court concluded the IBOs did not qualify as independent contractors, because ACN failed to establish that the IBOs were customarily engaged in an independently established business. In reaching that conclusion, (1) the Court construed “maintains a business location” in ORS 670.600(3)(a) as the Court of Appeals did, and (2) the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that the IBOs lacked the required authority to hire others to provide services, as provided in ORS 670.600(3)(e). Finally, the Supreme Court rejected ACN’s reading of the in-home sales exemption from employment in ORS 657.087(2) and concluded the IBOs do not fall within that exemption. As a result, the Court of Appeals’ decision and the final order of the ALJ were affirmed. View "ACN Opportunity, LLC v. Employment Dept." on Justia Law

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In April 2017, defendant Zachary Ball was charged by indictment with six Class C felonies. Appellant, who was a crime victim, filed a claim in the trial court, pursuant to ORS 147.515, alleging that the trial court violated her right to be heard when it sentenced the defendant who had committed crimes against her. In December 2017, the trial court facilitated settlement negotiations between the prosecutor and defendant, who was represented by counsel. Although appellant did not participate in those negotiations, she sat in the hallway outside the room where the negotiations occurred, and the prosecutor consulted with her before ultimately agreeing with defendant to terms of a plea and sentencing. The sentencing hearing took place in January 2018; appellant attended. Appellant was given approximately twenty minutes to deliver her statement; thereafter, defendant was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment and 32 months’ post-prison supervision for attempted assault in the second degree, 18 months’ imprisonment and 24 months post-prison supervision for assault in the fourth degree, to be served concurrently, and 60 months’ probation for coercion. Upon receipt of appellant’s claim, the trial court held a hearing. The trial court acknowledged that it had interrupted appellant’s victim impact statement twice and stopped appellant before she had the opportunity to complete her statement. As to both of the interruptions and the termination of appellant’s statement, the trial court stated that its objective had been “to focus on the statements that [appellant] wanted to say and how she felt about it, and about the crimes that * ** defendant was convicted of.” The Oregon Supreme Court held a trial court has the authority and responsibility to conduct a sentencing hearing in an orderly and expeditious manner and may exclude certain statements by victims, including those that are irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, or cumulative. In addition, a trial court may limit a victim impact statement if the victim disregards the trial court’s appropriate instructions regarding the content or length of the statement. In this case, the trial court’s interruptions of appellant’s statement, which were for the permissible purpose of having appellant focus on the charged crimes and her own experiences with the defendant, did not violate appellant’s right to be heard. However, the trial court’s termination of appellant’s statement, when appellant was discussing a relevant topic that was not outside the limits imposed by the trial court, did violate appellant’s right to be heard. Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court’s decision denying appellant’s claim, vacated defendant’s sentence, and remanded the case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. View "Oregon v. Ball" on Justia Law

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Two sets of petitioners challenged the Oregon Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 33 (2018) (IP 33). If adopted, IP 33 would require that “government employee unions” annually report certain information to the Secretary of State, primarily how dues would be spent on union administration. Chief petitioners Schworak and Mitchell challenged the summary, while petitioners Lutz and Schwartz challenged all parts of the certified ballot title. After reviewing the petitioners’ arguments, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that the proposed caption, the “no” result statement, and the summary did not substantially comply and must be modified. The “yes” result statement did substantially comply and did not require modification. View "Lutzv. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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Defendant Gregory Stewart knocked on a woman’s door early one morning. The woman thought she recognized defendant and let him inside her apartment. Shortly thereafter, the woman realized she had mistaken defendant for someone else, but she did not ask him to leave. Instead, the two sat in the living room and smoked marijuana. Defendant made the woman uncomfortable and later followed her to her bedroom, prompting the woman to ask defendant to leave. The woman refused defendant’s request to stay, he asked for sandwich bags. Defendant commented that he “needed to make some money,” removed a bag from his pocket, and went into the bathroom, where he spilled a substance on the floor. When defendant finished in the bathroom, he used the woman’s phone to call for a ride. Defendant said she could have whatever remained of the substance on her floor and left. The woman then called 9-1-1, reporting that defendant spilled a “white, powdery substance” on her bathroom floor, asked if she or anyone that she knew wanted to “buy some” of the substance, and stated several times that he “needed to make some money.” Police located defendant near the apartment, discovering small bags containing methamphetamine on defendant and arrested him. Police also determined that the substance on the bathroom floor was methamphetamine and, after transporting defendant, found a glove containing methamphetamine in their patrol car. Defendant was charged with various crimes, including unlawful delivery of methamphetamine. In this case, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that to prove that a delivery “is for consideration” under ORS 475.900 (2)(a) and that an enhanced sentence is therefore merited, the state is required to offer evidence that a defendant either entered into an agreement to sell or completed a sale of the specified drugs. The Court held that evidence a defendant possessed the drugs with the intent to sell them is insufficient. The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, and remanded this case for resentencing. View "Oregon v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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Defendant Gregory Stewart knocked on a woman’s door early one morning. The woman thought she recognized defendant and let him inside her apartment. Shortly thereafter, the woman realized she had mistaken defendant for someone else, but she did not ask him to leave. Instead, the two sat in the living room and smoked marijuana. Defendant made the woman uncomfortable and later followed her to her bedroom, prompting the woman to ask defendant to leave. The woman refused defendant’s request to stay, he asked for sandwich bags. Defendant commented that he “needed to make some money,” removed a bag from his pocket, and went into the bathroom, where he spilled a substance on the floor. When defendant finished in the bathroom, he used the woman’s phone to call for a ride. Defendant said she could have whatever remained of the substance on her floor and left. The woman then called 9-1-1, reporting that defendant spilled a “white, powdery substance” on her bathroom floor, asked if she or anyone that she knew wanted to “buy some” of the substance, and stated several times that he “needed to make some money.” Police located defendant near the apartment, discovering small bags containing methamphetamine on defendant and arrested him. Police also determined that the substance on the bathroom floor was methamphetamine and, after transporting defendant, found a glove containing methamphetamine in their patrol car. Defendant was charged with various crimes, including unlawful delivery of methamphetamine. In this case, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that to prove that a delivery “is for consideration” under ORS 475.900 (2)(a) and that an enhanced sentence is therefore merited, the state is required to offer evidence that a defendant either entered into an agreement to sell or completed a sale of the specified drugs. The Court held that evidence a defendant possessed the drugs with the intent to sell them is insufficient. The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, and remanded this case for resentencing. View "Oregon v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability filed a formal complaint alleging 13 misconduct counts against respondent, the Honorable Vance Day, involving Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.1; Rule 2.2; Rule 3.3(B); Rule 3.7(B); courteous to litigants); and Article VII (Amended), sections 8(1)(b), (c), and (e), of the Oregon Constitution. After conducting a hearing, the commission filed a recommendation with the Oregon Supreme Court, to the effect that clear and convincing evidence supported a conclusion that respondent had violated multiple rules with respect to eight of the counts, including violations not alleged in the complaint. The commission further recommended that respondent be removed from office. Respondent argued the Supreme Court should have dismissed all or several counts for procedural reasons; that the commission did not sufficiently prove the alleged misconduct; and, in any event, that the only appropriate sanction was a censure. After review, the Oregon Court dismissed two of the eight counts of the complaint that were at issue; the Court declined to consider any violation that the Commission did not originally allege in its complaint. The Supreme Court concluded the Commission proved by clear and convincing evidence that respondent engaged in some of the misconduct alleged in the remaining six counts. The Court suspended respondent, without pay, for three years. View "In re Day" on Justia Law

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Defendant Israel Tena, Jr. was convicted of felony fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence. On appeal, he challenged the admission of evidence that he had previously assaulted two other intimate partners within the last 14 years. The state argued that the evidence was admissible to prove intent, and the Court of Appeals agreed. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the evidence of the two prior incidents of domestic violence were impermissible character evidence. Therefore, the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals. View "Oregon v. Tena" on Justia Law

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Following a bench trial, petitioner Justin Behrle was convicted of three crimes and sentenced accordingly. After entry of judgment and an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Appeals, petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging one claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, and, in that claim, specified five instances in which his trial counsel allegedly failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment. Petitioner sought an order reversing his convictions and sentences. After a hearing, the post-conviction court found that, although three of petitioner’s specifications were without merit, two were well-taken. As a result, the court stated, it would “overturn the convictions in order [that] they be remanded back to the trial court.” The court then entered a judgment allowing the petition, effectively setting aside petitioner’s convictions and remanding the case to the trial court for a new trial. Defendant (the superintendent) appealed the post-conviction judgment, and petitioner filed a notice of cross-appeal, raising issues on which he had not prevailed in the post-conviction proceedings. The Court of Appeals determined that petitioner’s notice was untimely and dismissed his cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Oregon Supreme Court allowed review in this case to determine whether the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s cross- appeal as untimely. After it did so, petitioner filed his brief with the Court of Appeals and included cross-assignments of error seeking the same relief that he sought in his cross-appeal. The Supreme Court concluded petitioner’s cross-assignments of error were permitted by ORAP 5.57(2) and that resolving the merits of the issue at issue would no longer have a practical effect on the rights of the parties. The Court therefore dismissed the petition for review as moot. View "Behrle v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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Two sets of petitioners challenged the Oregon Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28). IP 28, if adopted, would add an exception to the constitutional protections recognized in Vannatta v. Keisling, 931 P2d 770 (1997). Petitioners challenged the caption, the “yes” and “no” result statements, and the summary. Finding revisions warranted for all elements to the ballot title, the Oregon Supreme Court referred the matter back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Markley/Lutz v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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Two sets of petitioners challenged the Oregon Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28). IP 28, if adopted, would add an exception to the constitutional protections recognized in Vannatta v. Keisling, 931 P2d 770 (1997). Petitioners challenged the caption, the “yes” and “no” result statements, and the summary. Finding revisions warranted for all elements to the ballot title, the Oregon Supreme Court referred the matter back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Markley/Lutz v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law