State v. James

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 07-27-2016
  • Case #: A153312
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, C.J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A witness may not testify about the credibility of another witness, but this rule does not bar a witness from testifying that he has agreed with the State to testify truthfully in a plea or other cooperation agreement.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for first-degree assault with a firearm (OrS 163.185), two counts of first-degree robbery with a firearm (ORS 164.415), unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm (ORS 166.220), and felon in possession of a firearm with a firearm (ORS 166.270). Among other assignments of error which the Court addressed briefly, Defendant’s main challenge was the trial court’s denial of his objection to evidence he described as “vouching” evidence. Defendant was involved in an altercation that occurred in connection with a marijuana sale, during which Defendant shot one of the sellers. At trial, the prosecutor asked a witness, with regard to his cooperation agreement with the State, whether the terms of the agreement called for the witness’ “truthful testimony as given to law enforcement.” Defendant asserted that by using this phrasing, the prosecutor was directly expressing his belief that the witness’ prior statements to law enforcement were truthful. The Court held that because the witness’ statements to police did not differ materially from his trial testimony, any error was harmless as there was little likelihood that the error affected the verdict. Affirmed.

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