NCVLI Participates in Huge Win for Stalking Victims Before the Oregon Supreme Court
September 15, 2011
NCVLI (with key partners and co-amici, the Oregon Law Center and the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center) helped secure a significant victory in Oregon for victims of stalking. Defendant had stalked the victim for years and a stalking order was put in place to try to stop him. Defendant violated that order and was convicted of two counts of violating a stalking protective order. On appeal Defendant argued that his conduct in violation of the order was protected speech and therefore his conviction had to be overturned. Specifically he argued that the crime of violating a stalking protective order by communicative acts, which requires that defendant’s conduct create a reasonable apprehension regarding the personal safety of the victim, was insufficient to withstand an overbreadth challenge under the free speech provision of Oregon’s Constitution. The Oregon Court of Appeals agreed and reversed defendant’s convictions. The state appealed. Fortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court said that the protective order for the victim actually meant something! They rejected defendant’s arguments, holding that, because defendant’s communications with the victim were already prohibited by the stalking protective order, the state was not required to prove under the statute that defendant had communicated an unequivocal threat to the victim.