- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Evidence
- Date Filed: 05-05-2021
- Case #: A169268
- Judge(s)/Court Below: James, J., for the Court; Lagesen, P.J.; & Kamins, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant was arrested and charged with unlawful delivery and possession of methamphetamine. At trial, the State put forward Facebook messages as evidence that Defendant coordinated a drug deal with an undercover officer. Because Defendant’s phone was never searched, the State failed to prove that Defendant was the declarant sending the messages and the trial court excluded evidence of the messages. The State appealed and argued that the declarant’s identity was an issue for the jury to resolve. Defendant argued that the issue was committed to the trial court to resolve and that the State’s evidence was insufficient to prove that Defendant was the declarant. The identity of a declarant regarding an out-of-court statement is an issue of conditional relevance evaluated under the standards for identity as a condition precedent to admissibility under OEC 901. If the party presenting an out-of-court statement as evidence presents a prima facie case that their opponent is the declarant, the court must admit and instruct the jury to consider that evidence only if the jury determines that the opponent was the declarant. State v. Park, 140 Or App 507, 511, 916 P2d 334, rev den, 323 Or 690 (1996). The Court held that the State had presented sufficient evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could conclude that Defendant was the declarant of the Facebook messages, thus, the messages were admissible subject to the jury’s determination on that issue. Reversed and remanded.