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State Supreme Court Upholds Rape Shield Law

OPB | July 25, 2013 7 p.m. | Updated: July 26, 2013 10:47 a.m. | Portland

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Oregon Supreme Court

Oregon Supreme Court

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The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld the state’s rape shield law. A West Linn man accused of sexual assault tried to argue a victim’s sexual history should be vetted in open court.

Dean MacBale is the co-owner of several strip clubs in the Portland metro area. He was accused of an attack on a former club employee.

MacBale’s attorneys argued that the victim had falsely accused two other men of raping her in years past. They wanted to discuss this information in open court.

The defendant’s counsel argued hearings on admissibility of evidence must be public.

Meg Garvin is director of the National Crime Victims Law Institute, and also teaches at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland.

The Institute filed a brief in the case, in opposition to the open hearing.

“It hasn’t happened anywhere else that we’re aware of. We were a little surprised by it from a national standpoint. But with Oregon’s history of open courts, the defendant made a reasoned argument,” Gavin said.

That said, Garvin says she’s thrilled the Supreme Court rejected the argument.

The case now returns to Clackamas County Circuit Court.

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