Dept. of Human Services v. J. V.-G.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 03-30-2016
  • Case #: A160221
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. For the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Shorr, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A judgment will be affirmed despite evidentiary error if there is little likelihood that the particular error affected the verdict. To determine if there is little likelihood that the error affects an outcome the court must determine whether the improperly admitted evidence could have affected the outcome of the case.

This was a juvenile dependency hearing where a father (father) appealed a permanency judgment that denied his motion to change the plan for child from adoption to return to parent. Before the hearing to change the plan, Father moved to dismiss jurisdiction and terminate the wardship. At the hearing, the juvenile court denied his motion to dismiss. Father contended that, in regard to his motion to dismiss, the juvenile court erred in admitting an exhibit that was inadmissible hearsay. The Department of Human Services (DHS) responded that that error was harmless, DHS did not argue that evidence entered into the record was not hearsay. The Court concluded that that error was not harmless because the Court was unable to reach the same conclusion independent of the inadmissible hearsay. Given that, the Court ultimately concluded that there was sufficient reason to warrant continued jurisdiction over the child. Vacated and remanded for reconsideration of father’s motion to dismiss.

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