State v. Machuca Update

On December 16, 2009, the Oregon Supreme Court heard arguments in the controversial implied consent case State v. Machuca. Attorney General John Kroger argued the case himself, an indication of the strong law enforcement interest in overturning the controversial Oregon Court of Appeals decision. It seems questionable whether the 6-4 split decision from Oregon’s Court of Appeals will stand given the fact that in a blink it tossed aside nearly 40 years of established implied consent law. What may be of more interest to DUII lawyers and DUII defendants is how cases currently affected by the Machuca holding will be treated by the local district attorneys offices pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case. If the State opts to proceed to trial with cases hobbled by the Machuca ruling and lose (before a decision by the Supreme Court is handed down), the State will have no recourse. Case closed. However, if district attorneys opt to appeal the Machuca ruling in each individual case, they would be able to stay the proceedings in each case pending the Supreme Court’s ruling. This may be the most likely tactic for the State in these cases and certainly would slow down resolution of a large number of DUII cases.

Statesman-Journal article here.

Oregon Supreme Court synopsis here.

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