- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
- Date Filed: 03-10-2021
- Case #: A168682
- Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, P.J. for the Court; DeHoog, J.; & Mooney, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of public indecency, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s failure to give the jury an instruction defining “sexual contact.” In response, the State argued that the error was harmless. "Where the trial court fails to elaborate on the meaning of an element of the charged crime, we have held the arguments of the state at trial combined with the instructions as a whole, can operate together to permit the jury to reach a legally erroneous conclusion." State v. Bistrika, 261 Or. App. 710, 729-30 (2014). The Court held that because the jury could not have reached its verdict resting on a legally erroneous premise, the trial court’s error in not defining “sexual contact” was harmless. Affirmed.