State v. Pusztai

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: A154672
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Lagesen, P.J.; & De Muniz, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Unauthorized use of a vehicle is not a prosecution for theft so a jury instruction regarding the “honest claim of right” defense is not warranted.

Defendant appealed his conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV). Defendant was seen driving a reportedly stolen Jeep. When officers caught Defendant, they searched the Jeep and found Defendant’s fishing gear. Defendant argued they engaged in conversation that, when combined with the fishing gear, permitted the inference the Defendant honestly believed the Jeep was his, supporting an “honest claim of right” defense and jury instruction. The State argued there was not sufficient evidence to support the instruction. The trial court refused to instruct the jury on the statutory defense of honest claim of right. Defendant appealed. The Court found UUV is not a prosecution for theft, so the statutory defense of honest claim of right does not apply; accordingly, Defendant was not entitled to such a jury instruction. Affirmed.

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