State v. Marquez-Vela

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-05-2014
  • Case #: A152189
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.

A witness cannot testify to the credibility or truthfulness of another witness. The trier of fact must make these determinations.

Victim died after being stabbed by Defendant, who fled to Mexico but returned three years later and turned himself in. Defendant was charged with felony assault in the fourth degree and murder. Defendant raised the defense of voluntary intoxication on the night of the victim’s death. At trial, the officer that interrogated Defendant upon arrest testified that during the interrogation Defendant was “dishonest,” “untruthful,” and “lying.” Defendant was convicted for murder. Defendant appealed, claiming that the trial court erred by failing to exclude the officer’s testimony. The Court found that this error was not harmless, especially in a case where the jury determination depends on Defendant’s credibility. The Court reversed the conviction and remanded for resentencing, holding that a witness cannot testify as to the credibility of another witness. Conviction on Count 1 reversed and remanded; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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