Oregon Court: Judge should have kept N-word away from jurors

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals says a new trial is necessary for a man who contends a judge should have excluded evidence that he used a racial slur during an interview with police detectives.

Wayne Roberts was convicted of first-degree assault after prosecutors said he stabbed another man at light-rail station in Gresham in December 2014. Roberts said he acted in self-defense.

Detectives interviewed Roberts the morning after his arrest. During their talk, Roberts used the N-word to describe a woman who had witnessed the fight. Over the objection of Roberts’ lawyer, that word was not scrubbed from a video shown to jurors.

The Appeals Court said the slur could have influenced the jury, and it added nothing substantive to the case. In a dissenting opinion, Senior Judge Walter Edmonds said there is little likelihood the verdict hinged on the slur.