State v. Reeves

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-19-2015
  • Case #: A153520
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The law of “case doctrine” states that when a ruling has been made in a particular case by an appellate court, while it may be overruled in other cases, it is binding upon both the inferior court in any further proceedings in the same litigation and upon the appellate court itself in any subsequent appeal.

Defendant was charged with fifteen counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse (ORS 163.684). The offense was committed when the defendant downloaded sexually explicit images of children to his computer. In a prior appeal, the defendant challenged the children’s status as “victims” of the crime. The appellate court remanded for resentencing and held that the children were victims within the meaning of the statute and the downloaded images constituted “the basis of the 15 counts on which the court rendered guilty verdicts.” Defendant now claims the court erred by not merging the fifteen separate counts into a single guilty conviction. Defendant claims that the court needed, and failed, to prove the identity of each child victim, the child’s birthdate, the date of the offense, and that the victim was living at the time of the offense. The Court in this appeal ruled under the law of “case doctrine,” which states that a ruling by a prior appellate court in a case must be followed by not only the lower court on remand but also by a future appellate court if a ruling in the particular case is again appealed. Because an appellate court had already ruled that there were fifteen victims, this Court necessarily agreed due to the law of case doctrine. Affirmed.

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