State v. Rankins

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 09-08-2016
  • Case #: A154629
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the Court; Lagesen, J.; & Flynn, J., concurring.

Within the meaning of the Commercial Drug Offense statute, ORS 475.900, the term “records” means “intentionally retained notations” maintained in furtherance of an enterprise conducted over a period of time.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction of delivery of heroin as a commercial drug offense. At trial, to establish that Defendant’s offense was a commercial drug offense, the State presented evidence of text messages sent and received by Defendant, arguing those messages constituted “drug transaction records” under ORS 475.900 (the commercial drug offense statute).  Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing the State did not present sufficient evidence to prove commercial drug enhancement because the text messages did not constitute drug transaction records. The trial court denied the motion. On appeal, Defendant renewed his claim that the text messages did not constitute drug transaction records, arguing the term “record,” in the context of the statute, means “something that is intentionally retained . . . for future reference.” The state contended the term means “all stored information,” regardless of whether it is intentionally stored.   Based on the context and legislative history of ORS 475.900(1)(b)(E), the Court agreed with Defendant, finding the term “records," within the meaning of the statute, means “intentionally retained notations.” Because Defendant’s text messages were unorganized, limited in number, and were created only hours before they were discovered, the Court found they were not being kept for record-keeping purposes.  Reversed and remanded for entry of judgment of conviction for delivery of a controlled substance without the commercial drug enhancement. 

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