|March 17, 2005|
|Case decided March 17, 2005|
The full text of these opinions can be found at http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us
State of Oregon v. Robert James Acremant, (SC S44772)
On automatic and direct review of a judgment of conviction and sentences of death imposed by the Jackson County Circuit Court, Ross G. Davis, Judge. The judgment of conviction and sentences of death are affirmed. The case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr. Justice Rives Kistler did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
Today, in an unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr., the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction and the sentences of death against Robert James Acremant. Acremant murdered Roxanna Ellis and Michelle Abdill in Medford, Oregon, on December 4, 1995. For those crimes, the state charged Acremant with four counts of aggravated murder involving two victims and various other noncapital offenses. Acremant pleaded guilty to all the charged
offenses, and the trial court sentenced him on the noncapital crimes. After a separate penalty trial for the aggravated murder convictions, a Jackson County jury unanimously concluded as to both murders that Acremant had acted deliberately, that he posed a continuing risk to society, and that he should receive a death sentence. The trial court accordingly sentenced Acremant to death.
On review, Acremant raised 25 assignments of error. In
its written opinion, the Supreme Court first concluded that the application of the statutory jury instruction under ORS 163.150(1)(c)(B) (1997) to Acremant's penalty trial did not violate the state or federal constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws. The Supreme Court also concluded that trial court did not err by denying Acremant's motion to suppress statements that he had made to the police on the day of his arrest because Acremant had made a knowing and voluntary waiver of his right to counsel and because his statements had been voluntary. The Supreme Court further concluded that the trial court did not err by denying Acremant's motion to suppress evidence of the body of an unrelated victim, the location of which Acremant had disclosed to his father, because Acremant's father had not been acting as a police agent at the time when Acremant had made that disclosure to him. The Supreme Court also rejected Acremant's argument that the trial court lacked authority to supplement the record in the manner that it did after 90 minutes of the audio recording of Acremant's penalty trial inadvertently was erased. The Supreme Court further declined to exercise its discretion to grant Acremant a new penalty trial in light of the erased audiotapes. Finally, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court erred by entering two aggravated murder convictions for each victim and, for that error, remanded the case for the entry of a corrected judgment of conviction.
END OF DOCUMENT