Sex abuse conviction overturned by state Supreme Court
Oregon: On Thursday, February 17, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Glen D. Baisinger, of the Linn County Circuit Court, was wrong to use an anonymous jury for the trial of an accused sex offender. Arick Sundberg was the defendant at the trial where he was accused of first degree sexual abuse and the unlawful sexual penetration of a 10-year-old girl. When Sundberg's attorney, Dennis Balske, objected to the court keeping the jurors anonymous when he found out that he would not be made aware of who the jurors were, the judge responded by saying, "we adopted the procedure partly in response to a concern of a number of jurors last year, over time, but it kind of culminated last year, that did not want their name known to litigants, and we checked around and quite a number of the counties in the state are doing this, not a majority, but a number of them." Blanske was pleased with the Supreme Court's decision and stated,
|"It puts in place something that wasn’t there before. The court ruled that if you decide to use anonymous juries, then you’ve got to put in place a system that requires a compelling reason for doing so. And if you do, you have to put in place protections for the defendants to insure the jury doesn’t think he’s dangerous."|
He also said that courts must now make an instruction to jurors saying, "this is a routinely done procedure and you should not take it to mean anything." He said that the way the court had been going about using anonymous juries was making jury member believe that they were in danger from the defendant even though nothing on record stated that he was a threat. The Supreme Court's ruling not only stated that, "the trial court's authority to empanel an anonymous jury must be exercised consistently with the defendant's constitutional rights," but also threw out the sex abuse conviction.