Disability vs. Personality

In State v. Craigen 296 Or App 772 (March 27, 2019), the Court of Appeals held that the trial Court had erred when it determined that evidence of defendant’s depression and brain injury could not be considered in connection with defendant’s EED (Extreme Emotional Disturbance) defense. Under Oregon case law, a defendant’s “personal characteristics” are appropriately considered as part of the defendant’s “situation” for purposes of the EED defense, whereas a defendant’s “personality characteristics” or “personality traits” are not permissibly considered as part of the defendant’s “situation.” “Personal characteristics” are things such as gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. “Personality characteristics” are aspects of a person’s personality “such as bad temperament.” In other words, depression and TBI should be treated more like physical disabilities, less like personal failings. See also State v. Zielinski, 287 Or App 770 (2017), which the court relied on.

 

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