State v. J.M.M.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 01-28-2015
  • Case #: A154011
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Mere presence during the planning and commission of a crime, or acquiescence alone, is insufficient to find a defendant guilty of aiding and abetting a crime under ORS 161.155(2)(b).

J.M.M., a youth, was found guilty for aiding and abetting acts that, if committed by an adult, would constitute one count of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree burglary under. J.M.M. was present during the planning of a burglary of a church, and stood outside the church while three others entered, took items and carried them away. J.M.M. did not participate, nor did he attempt to leave the scene. The State proceeded against J.M.M. on a theory of accomplice liability, relying on testimony from the officer who investigated the crime. The officer testified that J.M.M. stated he was present for the planning, but did not participate; that J.M.M. was present outside the building while the others stole items, but did not stop them or participate; and, that one of the other individuals corroborated these facts. After two failed motions for acquittal, the court found J.M.M. guilty for aiding and abetting the individuals who carried out the crimes. On appeal, J.M.M. argued there was insufficient evidence to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court found the smallest degree of collusion between accomplices is sufficient for a conviction of aiding or abetting another person in a crime; however, mere presence during planning or commission of a crime, or acquiescence alone, is insufficient. The Court held there was insufficient evidence to find J.M.M. guilty of aiding or abetting, and that the court had drawn an improper inference from J.M.M.’s mere presence during planning and commission. Reversed.

Advanced Search