State v. Williams

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 12-30-2015
  • Case #: A154262
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J., for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 162.285(1)(a), tampering with a witness, at the time of an offender’s knowing or intended inducement of a potential witness, an offender’s statement’s must reflect, either directly or by fair inference, that the offender reasonably and specifically believes that the victim will be called to testify at an official proceeding.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction of tampering with a witness, ORS 162.285(1)(a), assigning error to the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion for acquittal on the witness tampering charge. Pursuant to ORS 162.285(1)(a), a person commits the crime of tampering with a witness if "[t]he person knowingly induces or attempts to induce a witness or a person the person believes may be called as a witness in any official proceeding to offer false testimony or unlawfully withhold any testimony[.]" Under the standard announced by the Supreme Court in State v. Bailey, 346 Or. 551, 213 P.3d 1240 (2009), to constitute witness tampering, an “offender's knowing inducement or intended inducement must reflect, either directly or by fair inference, that the offender at that time specifically and reasonably believes that the victim will be called to testify at an official proceeding” (quoting Bailey at 565). The Court found that there was insufficient evidence from which a jury could by “fair inference” conclude that Defendant, at the time he made his statements, reasonably believed the victim would be called to testify at an official proceeding, and that Defendant’s intended his threats to induce the victim not to testify at an official proceeding. Conviction on Count 4 for tampering with a witness reversed; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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