Ryan Timothy O’Connor represents clients in appeals in state and federal court, in criminal cases in the state and federal trial courts, in post-conviction challenges to criminal convictions, and in state administrative cases.
Ryan was born and raised in Olympia, Washington. He attended the University of Portland and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Ryan attended Notre Dame Law School and graduated cum laude.
After being admitted to the Oregon State Bar, Ryan worked at the Appellate Division of the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS) in Salem, Oregon. Ryan and Jason Weber started O’Connor Weber in 2012. Since then, Ryan has represented clients on appeal in the Oregon state courts, in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in the United States Supreme Court.
Ryan has served as a Board Member of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA), an advisor to the Oregon Innocence Project, and presented at conferences about appeals, criminal law, and post-conviction law. In 2022, OCDLA awarded Ryan a President’s Award for his work representing clients on appeal in challenges their convictions based on non-unanimous jury verdicts.
JESSE JOHNSON V. PREMO, 315 OR APP 1 (2021)
Jesse Lee Johnson was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death in Salem, Oregon in the early 2000s. He has maintained his innocence throughout his case and Ryan worked with the Oregon Innocence Project on behalf of Mr. Johnson. Ryan represented Mr. Johnson in a post-conviction appeal and won the reversal of Mr. Johnson’s aggravated murder conviction and death sentence based on the ineffective assistance of Mr. Johnson’s original trial attorneys. Mr. Johnson’s case is now pending a new trial.
This video of Ryan’s appearance on the Black News Channel highlights some of the issues in Mr. Johnson’s case, including the substantial evidence of Mr. Johnson’s innocence: https://youtu.be/TJdSfuCuVw4
STATE POST-CONVICTION TRIAL - REVERSAL OF “SHAKEN BABY” CONVICTION
Ryan, Lindsey Burrows, Janis Puracal of the Forensic Justice Project, and the Oregon Innocence Project represented a man who had been convicted of assault for allegedly physically abusing his infant in a state post-conviction relief trial in the Malheur County Circuit Court. The man maintained his innocence throughout the case. Ryan and the legal team won the post-conviction trial and obtained the reversal of the man’s conviction based on the original criminal defense attorney’s ineffective assistance in failing to present expert witnesses testimony from a medical doctor who would have testified that the child likely suffered a medical crisis and was not abused.
STATE V. NORGREN, 287 OR APP 165 (2017)
Ryan represented Mr. Norgren on appeal of his criminal convictions for attempted murder and three counts of second-degree assault. Mr. Norgren had experienced a mental health crisis and injured a hunter he encountered in a rural, forested area. The convictions were based, in part, on incriminating statements that Mr. Norgren made to police while in the midst of the mental health crisis. The Court of Appeals reversed Mr. Norgren’s convictions because his acute mental health crisis made his waiver of his Miranda rights invalid.
OREGON STATE BOARD OF NURSING MATTER
Ryan represented a nurse before the Oregon state board of nursing who had been charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants. Ryan worked with the nurse’s criminal defense attorney to ensure that the nurse retained their nursing license throughout the criminal case and even after the nurse was convicted of DUII.
PARDON OF OREGON STATE CRIMINAL CONVICTION
Ryan and O’Connor Weber attorney Meg Huntington obtained a pardon from the Governor of Oregon for a non-citizen who was subject to deportation because of an Oregon state criminal conviction for delivery of marijuana. The pardon will allow the man to remain in the United States and have a pathway to citizenship.
STATE V. LAWSON/JAMES, 352 OR 724 (2012)
The Oregon Supreme Court significantly altered Oregon law on the admissibility of eyewitness identification in criminal trial based on Ryan’s arguments on behalf of Mr. James. The new approach received praise nationwide, including from the New York Times and the Innocence Project.