State v. Del Real-Gavez

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 04-01-2015
  • Case #: A153489
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court, before Hadlock, J, and Sercombe, P.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When the State’s argument depended on witness credibility, the jury should hear evidence of “motive to fabricate a disclosure against defendant,” by that witness.

Defendant assigns error to the trial court’s exclusion of impeachment evidence. Defendant was charged first-degree sexual abuse and coercion based on accusations by X, the alleged victim. At trial, defendant called Arellano, who had worked with X’s mother, as a witness. Arellano testified that in 2009 while X and X’s mother were riding to work with Arellano and other passengers, they were listening to a call-in radio program in which a caller described obtaining a U visa after reporting that her daughter had been sexually abused. Arellano further testified that X’s mother discussed accusing X’s father so that she could obtain a U visa herself. Before trial, the State moved to exclude evidence that X’s mother had applied for a U visa as not relevant under OEC 401. The State also moved to exclude Arellano’s testimony because X’s mother’s purported plan did not involve defendant. The trial court granted State’s motion, and held that exclusion was proper because defendant did not proffer evidence that X knew that X’s mother would apply for a U visa if X accused defendant. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals held that trial court’s error was not harmless because the State’s argument depended on X’s credibility, and that the jury should have heard evidence of “motive to fabricate a disclosure against defendant.” Reversed and remanded on Counts 1,3, and 5; otherwise affirmed.

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