State v. Copeland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 12-29-2011
  • Case #: A143210
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J.; Sercombe, J. concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

The public records hearsay exception is not limited to collateral matters only because 1) prior case history discussing the matter does not distinguish between “collateral” and essential facts, and 2) the framers of the Oregon Constitution incorporated several exceptions from the common law, including the public records exception.

Defendant’s wife sought, and was granted, a restraining order baring defendant from approaching within 150 feet of her. The Multnomah County Deputy Sherriff certified by proof of service that he personally served defendant with the restraining order. Two months after defendant was served, his wife observed him through a window of a bar that was within 150 of the Savoy Tavern, a bar his wife frequented and a bar he was barred from approaching. Subsequently, the defendant was arrested, but objected at trial to the state’s offering of proof of service as notice of the restraining order on the grounds that it violated his rights to confrontation under the United States Constitution, because the state did not offer testimony by the notifying officer, or show he was unavailable. The state countered that proof of service was an exception under the public records hearsay exception. On appeal, defendant argued that the public records exception was not so broad as the state contended, and only covered “collateral” matters. The Court of Appeals analyzed prior case law from State v. Conway and State v. William and held that neither case limited the public records exception to collateral matters only. Rather, because neither case distinguished between “collateral” and essential, “noncollateral,” facts, and the framers of the Oregon Constitution incorporated several exceptions from the common law – including the public records exception – the public records hearsay exception was not limited to collateral matters only. Affirmed

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