State v. McRae

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 06-03-2015
  • Case #: A153992
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J., for the Court; Lagesen, P.J.; & Haselton, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Trial court's denial to admit evidence of police officer's prior inconsistent statement not a grave enough error to warrant reversal of judgement if the difference in statements is not "qualitatively different" enough to warrant reversal.

Defendant was convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). The trial court denied Defendant's motion to suppress evidence of intoxication, arguing that evidence was unlawfully obtained during an unlawful traffic stop. At an administrative DMV hearing, the legality of the traffic stop was questioned. In the DMV order, the administrative law judge found that the road on which Defendant was stopped “has at least four large speed bumps.” One of the arresting officers testified that Defendant was traveling at over 60 miles per hour and that there were no speed bumps on the road when he followed Defendant. However, at Defendant's suppression hearing, the second arresting officer testified that there were speed bumps on the road, while the first arresting officer maintained that Defendant was driving 60 miles per hour and that he “did not recall” whether there were speed bumps. At trial Defendant attempted to admit the first officer’s prior statement. The trial court did not allow this evidence. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court plainly erred in not allowing the administrative hearing into evidence, based on the first officer’s inconsistent statements. The Oregon Court of Appeals found that the trial court plainly erred in excluding the administrative hearing from evidence, but found that the evidence was not sufficiently “qualitatively different” from the evidence given during the suppression hearing, and therefore was not a grave enough error to warrant reversal. AFFIRMED.

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