State v. Klontz

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 07-31-2013
  • Case #: A141178
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Evidential error is not presumed to be prejudicial; a decision can be upheld if the court makes it clear that it did not rely on the disputed evidence in making its decision.

This case is on remand from the decision in State v. Klontz by the Oregon Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of State v. Leistiko. Defendant was charged with first-degree rape and in the prior decision, the Court concluded that evidence of prior nonconsensual sexual offenses was properly admitted as evidence in order to rebut Defendant’s argument that the victim consented to sex. State v. Leistiko focused on the differences between the “intent” theory of admissibility and the “plan” theory. If the “prior acts” evidence is offered to prove the defendant acted with certain “intent,” it becomes relevant only if the actus reus is not at issue. Alternatively, “prior acts” evidence may be considered when determining whether the defendant had a “plan” to commit the crime, which may be used to establish whether the actus reus occurred. The question on remand is whether or not evidence of Defendant’s prior nonconsensual conduct is admissible under the “plan” theory. The Court, without answering that question, concluded that any error as to admission of the challenged evidence had little likelihood of affecting the verdict because the trial court made clear in its “speaking verdict” that it did not rely on “prior acts” evidence. Affirmed.

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