State v. Davis

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-27-2014
  • Case #: A148652
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, Section 11 of the Oregon Constitution, a defendant has the right for a jury to find all elements of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Issue preclusion, therefore, cannot be used to definitively establish essential facts to obtain a conviction because it hinders a jury's duty to deliberate and find every element of a crime.

Defendant appealed from his conviction for perjury, contending that the use of issue preclusion to prove an element of his crime violated his state and federal constitutional rights. In a previous case, where Defendant was accused of driving under the influence (DUII), Defendant testified that he had not been the person driving the vehicle. The jury in that case found that Defendant had been the driver of the vehicle and convicted him of manslaughter and DUII. The State subsequently filed a perjury action regarding Defendant’s statements under oath. In this case, the jury was instructed to use the prior conviction as proof of an element of perjury. Presented with the issue of whether issue preclusion can be used against a Defendant at trial to definitively determine an element of the charged crime, especially when that judgment is reserved for the jury, this Court concluded that both the state and federal constitutions give the right for a jury to find every element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Using issue preclusion in the jury instructions impedes the jury from finding every element of the charged offense. Reversed and remanded.

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