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Issue: Defendant was charged with one count of repeated sexual assault of a child—his stepdaughter.
The trial court granted defendant’s motion for in camera inspection of the child-victim’s privileged therapy records, and the victim refused to consent to the release of the records.
The trial court honored the victim’s assertion of her absolute statutory privilege with respect to her therapy records, and ordered that she would nevertheless be allowed to testify at trial, but with an instruction to the jury informing it of the victim’s refusal and stating that because of the refusal a presumption exists that the contents of the records would have been helpful to the defense. The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) participated in this case as amicus curiae in support of the government’s opposition to defendant’s petition before the Oregon Supreme Court.
NCVLI argued that Oregon crime victims’ state constitutional rights to justice, protection and privacy, and to be treated with due dignity, respect and fairness—as well as their federal constitutional rights to privacy and to access the courts—required in camera procedures for rape shield hearings.
Corrected Brief of the American CIvil Liberties Union, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Protect Our Defenders, Futures Without Violence and National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, as Issue: SWAN and the Vietnam Veterans of America are suing the VA for ignoring a rulemaking petition filed last year.
Defendant argued that the state law providing guidelines for the fair treatment of child witnesses did not authorize the presence of comfort dogs at a criminal trial, that the trial court’s interpretation of the statute so as to permit such presence improperly invaded the domain of the legislature, and that the dog's presence violated defendant's due process right to a fair trial and impaired his right to confront witnesses against him.
Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in failing to make a finding of necessity before allowing the presence of the comfort dog.
NCVLI further argued that holding such hearings in camera helps to ensure that Oregon’s criminal justice system protects both crime victims’ rights and defendants’ rights.
Issue: Defendant was convicted of the aggravated murder of his estranged wife, whom he murdered during an attempt to force her to recant allegations of physical and emotional abuse that formed the basis of a restraining order against him, and to give him custody of his daughter and leave the state.
Cooper did not have standing to independently seek appellate review of a substantive sentencing decision by a trial court.