State v. Williams
Case # A150680
Full Text of Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A150680.pdf
Defendant Williams was charged with several different sex crimes against four victims, including K and J. The crimes took place separately, several months apart, and in different locations. Prior to trial, Williams filed a motion to sever pursuant to ORS 132.560. In his written motion, Williams argued that joinder of the charges would substantially prejudice him because there was no “mutually admissible” evidence regarding the charges pertaining to K and J. The State countered that evidence of Williams’ abuse of one of the victims would be relevant as to the other victim. The trial court denied Williams’ motion, and he now appeals.
The Court of Appeals notes that ORS 132.560(3) allows charges to be severed “if the defendant is ‘substantially prejudiced by a joinder of offenses.’” The Court concludes that, even if Williams’ conduct toward one victim was not cross-admissible as to the other victim, Williams would not suffer substantial prejudice as a result of the joinder. It bases its conclusion on the fact that Williams was charged with sex crimes against different victims, in different locations, with distinct factual scenarios that were separated by several months. Thus, the allegations were “sufficiently simple and distinct” so that the trial court could permissibly conclude that Williams would not be substantially prejudiced by joinder. The trial court did not err in denying Williams’ motion to sever, and the judgment is affirmed.