State of Oregon v. Jonathan William Harrell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-13-2018
  • Case #: A162126
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J., Garrett, J., Powers, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

“In reviewing a trial court’s admission of eyewitness identification evidence, we defer to the court’s findings of fact as long as they are supported by any evidence in the record; we review the trial court’s evidentiary ruling for legal error.” State v. Engle, 278 Or App 54, 55, 373 P3d 1191, rev den, 360 Or 465 (2016)

Defendant sought reversal of his conviction for reckless driving under ORS 811.140. Plaintiff argues that the court should have excluded the identification evidence because it did not meet the foundational threshold for admissibility under OEC 602 and OEC 701. He further argues that even if it did meet the requirements, it should have been excluded under OEC 403 because the evidence was unduly prejudicial. In response, the state asserts that the trial court correctly ruled on all items. In reviewing the defendant’s OEC 602 challenge, the court considered the estimator variables in Lawson/James. State v. Haugen, 274 Or App 127, 141 360 P3d 560 (2015), rev’d on other grounds, 361 Or 284 (2017) (citing Lawson/James, 352 Or at 744-46). The court concluded that the state satisfied its burden in proving that the witness “observed the facts necessary to make [an] identification.” See Hickman, 355 Or at 725. To satisfy OEC 701, the state “must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the witness perceived sufficient facts to support an inference of identification that the identification was, in fact, based on those perceptions.” State v. Lawson/James, 352 Or 724, 754055, 291 P3d 673 (2012). The court concluded that the state satisfied the minimum baseline of reliability for the identification because it “was based [on her] firsthand perceptions and would be helpful to the trier of fact. The court rejected defendant’s arguments that he met the requirements of OEC 403. The court did not err in admitting the evidence. Affirmed. 

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