State v. Jay

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 08-26-2015
  • Case #: A154731
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J.; Lagesen, J.; and Flynn, J., for the Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

A prosecutor's mention of questions that an arresting officer asked Defendant during the arrest are considered sufficiently incidental to statements made by Defendant. Accordingly, they are properly excluded from evidence.

During a traffic stop, Defendant was asked if she had been using drugs. Defendant replied to these questions stating her right to remain silent. Defendant was arrested and accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). After being taken into custody, Defendant made further statements unrelated to her right to remain silent. Before trial, Defendant successfully moved to exclude the statements she made during the arrest; Defendant did not object to the admission of the statements she made while in custody. Defendant objected to the prosecutor’s opening statements, which she argued portrayed a false timeline of when her statements were uttered. Defendant proposed a curative jury instruction, but the trial court refused. Defendant was convicted of DUII. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in refusing to give the requested instruction; Defendant argued that the prosector’s opening statement distracted the jury in violation of the Oregon Constitution and the United States Constitution. Defendant also argued that the trial court denied her motion in limine by allowing in the arresting officer’s questions addressed to her during the traffic stop. The Oregon Court of Appeals distinguished Defendant’s case from Ragland, in which “the prosecutor’s comment on defendant’s silence was . . . the striking point of the prosecutor’s credibility attack on defendant’s account at trial.” The Court held that, in Defendant’s case, Defendant’s statements were more incidental than the standard set forth in Ragland, and therefore held that the trial court did not err in refusing Defendant’s requested instruction. AFFIRMED.

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