State v. Schnur

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: A153609
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Wollheim, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OEC 404(3), it is not plain error for a trial court to instruct the jury that it may use evidence of a past guilty plea when determining whether a defendant committed actus reus of the charged crime.

Defendant appealed a conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine, arguing that the trial court plainly erred by admitting evidence that Defendant had previously pled guilty to unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Prior to this action, Defendant pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine, and argued that it belonged to someone else. This action began when methamphetamine was found in a jewelry box in Defendant’s bedroom—Defendant asserted that he did not know that the methamphetamine was there, and that it was not his. Against Defendant’s objection, the state offered the evidence of Defendant’s prior guilty plea as to possession of methamphetamine as evidence that Defendant was lying in the current case and as evidence that Defendant knew that the methamphetamine was in the jewelry box. The court admitted the evidence for the limited purpose of showing that Defendant was lying. Defendant argued on appeal that the jury should have been instructed that it could only consider Defendant’s prior guilty plea as evidence that Defendant lied only after the jury found that Defendant had committed the charged act of possession of methamphetamine. On review, the Court determined it was not plain error to refuse Defendant’s requested jury instruction. Affirmed.

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