State v. Berry

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law:
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2018
  • Case #: A160133
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Egan, C.J.; & Aoyagi, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Defendant appealed a judgment convicting him of first-degree criminal mistreatment and fourth-degree assault. Defendant assigned error to the trial court's jury instruction regarding an element of first-degree criminal mistreatment. Defendant argued that "dependent person" should not automatically apply to a person under the age of 18 since many 16- or 17- year olds can legally live independently. The state argued that as a matter of law, most minors are dependent, and while there are potential exceptions for married or legally emancipated minors, those issues are not present in this case. Under ORS 163.205(2)(b), a "'dependent person' means a person who because of either age or a physical or mental disability is dependent upon another to provide for the person's physical needs." Looking to other statutes, the Court held that the legislature has never intended for "dependent person" to include all minors; the Court also concluded that the erroneous jury instruction might have affected the outcome of the trial. Conviction for first-degree criminal mistreatment reversed and remanded; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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