- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Evidence
- Date Filed: 02-03-2021
- Case #: A162860
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, P.J. for the Court; DeVore, J.; & James, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant was sentenced to life without possibility of parole after convictions of murder, aggravated murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and multiple counts of first and second degree robbery. Defendant assigned error to the court’s instruction to the jury, for the non-homicide convictions, that it could return non-unanimous verdicts, and the court’s acceptance of guilty verdicts that were non-unanimous. On appeal, Defendant argued that the purpose of the jury instruction was to counteract the likelihood an accomplice witness would tend to incriminate a defendant to obtain some benefit for themselves, and therefore should not be sustained over a defendant’s objection when some or all of the testimony is in favor of the defendant. In response, the State argued that the Defendant failed to preserve the argument presented on appeal. Concerns addressed by the instruction are not present when the testimony of accomplice witnesses does not shift blame. State v. Simson, 308 Or. 102, 110 (1989).The Court held that although the trial court erred in the jury instructions, the error was harmless. Vacated and remanded in part, affirmed in part.