State v. Stewart

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-08-2015
  • Case #: A152660
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Edmonds, S.J.

Under the Oregon Constitution, Article VII, section 3, an appellate court is required to affirm a conviction, even if an evidentiary error occurred, if there is little possibility that the error negatively impacted the verdict. The evidence in question needs to be weighed as to whether it is “merely cumulative” or “qualitatively different” from other evidence presented in the case that led to the conviction.

Defendant appealed his conviction of compelling and promoting prostitution, contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found in his vehicle. The Court concluded that the evidence entered, if done erroneously, was harmless due to the overwhelming aggregate of evidence that was presented that would have led to the same conviction, even if the evidence in question was not allowed in. This Court referred to State v. Davis (336 Or 19), which provides that in analyzing of whether evidence alleged to be admitted in error is pertinent to the outcome of the verdict, the Court must focus “on the possible influence of the error on the verdict rendered.” In this present case, the Court held that enough evidence outside the evidence in question would have rendered the same guilty verdict for the Defendant and therefore, if any error occurred, it was harmless. Affirmed.

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