State v. Nacoste

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 07-22-2015
  • Case #: A153242
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, P.J., for the Court; Flynn, J.; and De Muniz, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A criminal Defendant may cross-examine a testifying alleged victim concerning the victim's juvenile adjudication history if used to show bias or motive in the alleged victim's reporting or to show victim's attempt to curry favor with prosecution.

Defendant was on trial for statutory rape and assault. At trial, Defendant attempted to cross-examine the alleged victim about her history of juvenile adjudication. The trial court ruled that evidence of the alleged victim’s juvenile criminal record was inadmissible evidence, and therefore Defendant was not allowed to cross-examine the alleged victim concerning her history of juvenile adjudication. At the end of trial Defendant was convicted of one count of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of fourth-degree assault, and acquitted of all other charges.
Defendant appealed, claiming that under the 6th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution he was entitled to cross-examine witnesses, and that he was able to cross-examine the alleged victim about her juvenile criminal record because he was using that record to demonstrate the alleged victim’s bias or motive. The state argued that a witness’s prior juvenile record is not admissible for the purposes of impeachment, and that no aspect of her prior juvenile record could be used to show bias or motive in her testimony. The Oregon Court of Appeals found that, by not allowing Defendant to cross-examine the alleged victim about anything relating to her juvenile record, as there was a potential for that evidence to show the alleged victim’s bias or attempt to “curry favor” with the prosecution. The Court therefore REVERSED AND REMANDED on Defendant’s conviction of second-degree sexual abuse; otherwise AFFIRMED.

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