Law School Case Brief
State v. Taylor - 123 Or. App. 343, 858 P.2d 1358 (1993)
To restrain a defendant during trial the judge must find, on the record, that the defendant posed an immediate or serious risk of committing dangerous or disruptive behavior, or that he posed a serious risk of escape.
Defendant Curtis Ray Taylor and Bay were inmates at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. Bay was incarcerated for manslaughter. They were assigned to the same dormitory. Defendant was required to walk past Bay's bunk to go anywhere in the unit, including the bathroom. They had been involved in three fights in the past. One night, Bay twice threatened to stab defendant with a pencil while defendant was sleeping. Defendant asked the unit supervisor to be moved but the unit supervisor refused and told defendant that he needed to put the request in writing. Defendant then put a lock into a sock and put the device in his pocket before going to the bathroom. Bay testified that he quickly jumped off his bed when he noticed defendant near him. He had a pencil in his hand. They exchanged words and defendant swung the device at Bay. Bay sustained a head injury, which he testified he received by either hitting his head on his foot locker while jumping out of bed or by fighting. After trial in Oregon state court, defendant was convicted of possession of a weapon by an inmate and attempted assault in the second degree. On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court's refusal to give jury instructions on the defenses of self-defense and the choice of evils was error. Specifically, defendant claimed that he was entitled to the requested instructions because any attempt to use force on Bay was in response to what defendant reasonably believed was an imminent use of unlawful physical force. In addition, defendant challenged the trial court's order requiring defendant to be shackled at trial.
Was defendant entitled to jury instructions on self-defense?
The appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case for a new trial. On appeal, the court held that the evidence, when viewed in favor of defendant, was adequate to support a finding that he reasonably believed that Bay's use of unlawful force was imminent and that defendant acted to avoid imminent injury. Defendant knew that Bay that been imprisoned for manslaughter, had stabbed people, and had threatened to stab him. The court did not address defendant's assignment of error regarding the trial court's order requiring him to be shackled at trial, because the alleged error might not occur again on remand.
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