State v. Mazziotti

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A153713
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Tookey, J.

“Where a defendant requests that the trial court exclude other acts evidence under OEC 403 because the probative value of the evidence is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, it is error for the court to admit the other acts evidence without first conducting OEC 403 balancing.”

Defendant appealed from a judgment convicting him of failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. Defendant argued that the trial court erred when it allowed the State to present evidence of his prior convictions because the evidence was not relevant for anything but character and propensity evidence and was unfairly prejudicial. After Defendant’s trial, the Supreme Court decided State v. Williams in which it concluded that OEC 404(4) supersedes OEC 404(3) in criminal cases. Defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to weigh the probative value of the past wrongs evidence against its prejudicial effect. The prosecution argued that the trial court implicitly considered the argument. The Court found that the trial court did not implicitly conduct unfair prejudice analysis because it did not consider the factors announced in Williams. A court is required to conduct unfair prejudice analysis when a defendant argues that prior bad acts evidence is unfairly prejudicial. Reversed and remanded.

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