State v. Clarke

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 07-07-2016
  • Case #: A152453
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under State v. Hampton, relevant evidence of motive is admissible to prove a defendant committed the physical element of a charged act if it makes more probable the fact that a defendant physically committed a crime than if such a motive were not established. Under State v. Brock, if the record establishes that a trial court consciously balanced the costs of admitting prior acts evidence against its benefits, there was due process balancing as required by OEC 403.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for murder for intentionally beating his roommate to death with a baseball bat. The trial court admitted evidence of two prior acts by Defendant to show intent under OEC 404(3). On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erroneously admitted the evidence of the prior acts. Relevant evidence of motive is admissible to prove a defendant committed the physical element of a charged act if it makes more probable the fact that a defendant did so than if such a motive were not established. State v. Hampton, 317 Or 251 (1993). Thus, after finding the past acts tended to show that Defendant’s animosity toward the victim was so strong that he was previously moved to physically engage in violence against him, the Court held that the prior bad act evidence was relevant to prove that Defendant committed the charged act, and, therefore, the trial court did not err in admitting or limiting the evidence. After finding the record revealed that the trial court sufficiently balanced the costs and benefits of the evidence and found probative value, the Court held the trial court properly conducted due process balancing, and did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence. Affirmed.

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