State v. Gore

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-31-2016
  • Case #: A155544
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: De Muniz, S.J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.

When a defendant asserts a "defense of property" defense, the jury must be instructed on the State's duty to disprove the defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defendant appealed conviction for second-degree assault (Count 2) and unlawful use of a weapon Count 3).  Defendant argued that the trial court committed plain error in refusing to give the Defendant’s requested instruction on his “defense of property” defense which would have informed the jury that the State was required to disprove that defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant failed to preserve  his error at trial. The Court held that the trial court plainly erred in not instructing the jury that the Defendant’s “defense of property” defense required the State to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court reasoned that the standard of proof was a matter of law necessary for the jury’s information in giving its verdict, and therefore must be included in the jury instruction. Because this was not a harmless error, the Court exercised its discretion in correcting it. Reversed and remanded.

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