- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Evidence
- Date Filed: 09-08-2022
- Case #: A169948
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Aoyagi, J. for the Court; Tookey, P.J.; & Armstrong, S.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed convictions for sixteen sex crimes against children. Defendant successfully reversed non-unanimous jury verdict instructions for three non-unanimous verdicts. Additionally, Defendant assigned error to the admission of grooming testimony. Defendant argued first, against the relevance of the testimony using the courts' holding in Hansen that grooming evidence is only admissible to explain a defendant’s behavior. Second, the State did not establish the testimony had validity and scientific reliability that would be helpful for the proceedings. And third, even if Hansen did not apply, the potential unfair prejudice was greater than the probative value. In response, the State argued that grooming testimony should be examined on a case-by-case basis. For testimony to be admissible, “[i]t must be relevant OEC 401; it must possess sufficient indicia of scientific validity and be helpful to the jury, OEC 702; and its prejudicial effect must not outweigh its probative value, OEC 403.” State v. Southard, 218 P.3d 104 (Or. 2009). The Court reasoned that Hansen is a fact-specific holding not a categorical prohibition and in this case the testimony was relevant under OEC 401 because it gave jurors context about why sexual abuse victims might not report abuse promptly. Additionally, the Court reasoned the science on victim-offender dynamics is helpful for the jury's understanding and the science is well established so it meets OEC 702. Finally, the Court reasoned that the expert had followed the instructions the lower court had created to mitigate unfair prejudice of the testimony and was therefore admissible under OEC 403. Affirmed. (Non-unanimous verdict instructions, Reversed and Remanded.)