Oregon v. KingAnnotate this Case
Defendant Trevin King pled guilty to second-degree assault, and no contest to first-degree robbery in accordance with an oral plea agreement reached with the state. Six months later, the victim died because of his injuries from the assault, and then the state began another prosecution against defendant for felony murder and manslaughter. As a consequence of the plea agreement, the trial court granted defendant’s pretrial motion to dismiss the indictment and dismissed the case. The state appealed, arguing that applying ordinary principles of contract interpretation, the plea agreement posed no bar to the state’s otherwise permissible prosecution of defendant for homicide and that defendant assumed the risk of the victim’s death. Defendant argued the contract principles the state advanced could not be applied when a criminal defendant relinquished state and federal constitutional rights as part of a negotiated plea. The Oregon Supreme Court reached the same conclusion as the trial court did: a contractual default rule fills the gap in the plea agreement and prevents defendant’s reprosecution.