State v. Fletcher

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-18-2014
  • Case #: A150541
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An issue can be preserved for appeal when the party asserting error had requested that the jury hear his argument, but was prevented by the trial court from advancing that argument.

Defendant appealed his conviction for second-degree assault. Defendant, while in custody in Lane County awaiting sentencing for another matter, had struck another inmate in the face with a broom handle after the other inmate refused to give his food to Defendant. At trial, Defendant had first orally requested a jury instruction that would declare that the state must prove that Defendant knew the broom’s shaft was a dangerous or deadly weapon. The trial court refused that instruction, and directed Defendant not to offer that argument in closing to the jury. Defendant adhered to the court’s direction. The State argued that Defendant’s issue was not preserved for appeal, and that Defendant’s statement of the law is incorrect. The Court held that Defendant’s appellate issue was preserved, reasoning that a party asserting error on appeal must have done something to provide the trial court with enough information to clearly identify and correct the error immediately. The Court found that Defendant met this requirement because he argued his request to the trial court, which ruled on it. The Court also found that Defendant’s statement of the law was correct, and that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant the ability to argue it. It reasoned that the culpable mental state for second-degree assault – intent or knowledge – applies to all of the elements of the crime, including the using of a deadly or dangerous weapon. Conviction for second-degree assault reversed and remanded; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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