State v. Guzman

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 01-27-2016
  • Case #: A155005
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. pro tem for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Where a victim does not testify, evidence is sufficient to establish the victim suffered “substantial pain” required by ORS 163.160(1)(a) through inferences made from witness testimony, victim statements to a 9-1-1 dispatcher and photographs of the victim’s injuries.

Defendant appealed from a judgment of conviction for one count of fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence (ORS 132.586(2)), assigning error to the trial court’s denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal (MJOA) due to lack of sufficient evidence that Defendant had caused the victim “substantial pain” as required under ORS 163.160(1)(a). After an altercation between Defendant and the victim, witnesses observed the victim’s behavior and injuries. The victim did not testify at trial but evidence was introduced from the witnesses, the victim’s statements to the 9-1-1 dispatcher and photographs of the victim’s injuries. The question was whether the evidence could allow a reasonable fact-finder to find that the victim experienced “substantial pain,” a term not defined in the Oregon Revised Statutes but clarified in State v. Poole, 175 Or App 258, 261 (2001) and subsequent cases. The Court held that based the inferences from the evidence showing Defendant pushed the victim and would not let her go during their struggle, coupled with the photographs, a reasonable fact-finder could infer the victim’s injuries involved substantial pain that was more than just fleeting. Affirmed.

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