A former Roseburg man accused of sexually assaulting a child more than a decade ago was back in Douglas County Circuit Court on Monday for the first time since the Oregon Supreme Court ruled key evidence could be used against him.
John Richard Davis, 49, who now lives in Peoria, Ariz., was handed paperwork to fill out after he requested a court-appointed attorney during a brief hearing.
“I’m seeking counsel now,” Davis told Judge William Marshall during an appearance in the same court in which he was put on trial in 2008.
Davis faces 14 counts alleging he abused a girl he knew. The abuse allegedly took place between 1996 and 2001, when the girl was between 10 and 15 years old.
In May 2006, Davis was indicted on charges of rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor.
Eight months prior to the indictment, Davis learned he was the subject of a police investigation and hired Roseburg attorney Charles Lee, who wrote a letter informing the Roseburg Police Department that Davis would not speak to investigators without an attorney present.
During the ensuing investigation, Detective Joe Kaney, with the cooperation of the alleged victim, eavesdropped on instant messaging conversations and phone calls to obtain incriminating statements from Davis.
During Davis’ trial in 2008, his defense attorney, David Hill of Eugene, moved to suppress the evidence, claiming Davis’ rights to counsel and to remain silent were violated.
Circuit Judge William Lasswell granted the motion, putting the case on hold while the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office appealed Lasswell’s ruling.
The three-member Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the suppression in 2010, ruling that police didn’t have to the right to gather evidence through online messaging once they’ve been told to go through a suspect’s lawyer.
But in 2011, the Oregon Supreme Court overturned that decision, ruling that a suspect must be under arrest or detained to be protected from police questioning outside the presence of an attorney.
Davis remains free while awaiting trial. He has appeared for previous hearings by camera from the Phoenix area. Davis is due back in court on April 29 for a hearing to check on trial preparations.
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at email@example.com.