State v. Savage

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-25-2016
  • Case #: A156821
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.

A defendant is entitled to a jury instruction on accomplice witness testimony if evidence suggests the witness testifying may have been an accomplice to the accused crime.

Savage appealed his conviction for first-degree aggravated theft, arguing that the trial court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on accomplice witness testimony. Savage's girlfriend testified at trial that Savage had confessed he had entered and stolen property from the victim's home. Other evidence suggested the girlfriend had been an accomplice to the theft, and Savage requested jury instructions that would have told jurors to view the girlfriend's testimony with distrust if they found she was an accomplice and could not solely rely on her testimony to convict Savage, but must have other evidence corroborating Savage's guilt. The trial court declined to give the jury instruction. The Court of Appeals held that the instruction should have been given and the error was not harmless. Reversed and remanded.

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