Smith v. Franke

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-22-2014
  • Case #: A149418
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; and Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to constitute inappropriate vouching for a minor, a witness’s testimony in regards to the minor’s ability to distinguish between truth and lie is insufficient.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his post-conviction relief petition. During the summer of 1999, while on a camping trip with his family, Defendant allegedly molested his 8-year old daughter S and took sexually explicit photos of her. Months later, S disclosed those events to her mother, who then contacted the police. Defendant was arrested many years later on account of him being overseas. He was tried and convicted of first-degree sodomy and sexual abuse and of using a child in a display of sexual conduct. He then filed a petition for post-conviction relief with his principal argument being that his attorney was constitutionally inadequate for failing to object to the testimony of the police officer who interviewed S. The Court held that where witness testimony does not specifically claim that the minor was telling the truth on the occasion in question, merely establishing that a minor knew the difference between truth and lie is insufficient to constitute improper vouching. Affirmed.

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