State v. Montwheeler

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-13-2016
  • Case #: A152716
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the standard announced in Charles v. Palomo, an objection is made for preservation purposes whenever a party communicates to a trial court that he or she disagrees with the court’s actual or potential ruling. The words "I object" need not be specifically uttered, rather, the party objecting to a trial court's ruling must state its objection with enough specificity to allow the trial court to identify the alleged error for reconsideration, if warranted. Under OEC 402, it is clear error to exclude relevant evidence without a legal basis for exclusion.

Defendants appealed convictions for aggravated theft. ORS 164.057. Defendants assiged error to the trial court's ruling disallowing a witness, agruing it violated Defendants’ right to call witnesses under the compulsory process clauses of Article 1, section 11 of the Oregon Constitution and the the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The State argued that one Defendant (Anita Montwheeler) had not adequately preserved her objection, and that the second Defendant (Anthony Montwheeler), never objected to the trial court's ruling. The Court held that, under the standard announced in Charles v. Palomo, 347 Or 695, 701, 227 P3d 737 (2010), an objection is made for preservation purposes whenever a party communicates to a trial court that he or she disagrees with the court’s actual or potential ruling. The words "I object" need not be specifically uttered, rather, the party objecting to a trial court's ruling must state its objection with enough specificity to allow the trial court to identify the alleged error for reconsideration, if warranted. The Court found that Anita Montwheeler had adequately preserved her assignment of error, and that, because the trial court committed plain error by excluding relevant evidence under OEC 402 without a legal basis for exclusion. The Court exercised its discretion to correct the error for both Defendants, even though only one Defendant preserved the error for appeal, because the error was not harmless. Reversed and remanded.

Advanced Search