State v. Oneill

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-15-2013
  • Case #: A143742
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P. J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 161.200, a defendant’s perception of a threat must be reasonable as gauged by an objective reasonable person standard, rather than a subjective, defendant-specific standard.

Defendant appealed a circuit court judgment convicting her of escape in the third degree. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s refusal to give a jury instruction based on the choice of evils defense. Defendant was arrested on an outstanding warrant by two police officers. Defendant was placed in handcuffs and began screaming that the officers were trying to rape her. Defendant broke free and ran down an alleyway and was subsequently caught. The choice of evils defense, as described under ORS 161.200, requires either that Defendant believe her actions are necessary to avoid imminent injury or if Defendant's actions were in fact necessary. The Court found that ORS 161.200 requires that a Defendant’s perception of a threat be reasonable as gauged by an objective reasonable person standard, rather than a subjective, defendant-specific standard. Defendant failed to present evidence supporting a jury instruction describing the choice of evils defense. Affirmed.

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