State v. Ferguson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 02-01-2012
  • Case #: A142803
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, C.J.; & Sercombe, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A witness may not give testimony, expert or otherwise, as to the credibility of whether he or she believes another witness is telling the truth.

Defendant appealed a conviction of various sex-related charges and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Defendant contended on appeal that the trial court erred in allowing testimony from the victim's father where he said that if he thought that the victim had just made a mistake after drinking (in having sexual relations with Defendant), he would not have let anyone call the police. The Court reasoned that this was an indirect comment regarding the victim's credibility. According to State v. Middleton, a witness "may not give an opinion on whether he believes a witness is telling the truth." The Court ruled that the trial court erred in admitting this testimony. The State contends that, even if the trial court erred, the error was harmless. The Court decided that the issue of the victim's credibility was before the finder of fact, and it is likely that the testimony at issue affected the jury's consideration of that issue. Reversed and remanded.

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