State v. Markwell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 09-21-2016
  • Case #: A158500
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the Court; Devore, J.; & Flynn, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An object of any shape or size that returns to its original shape after being distorted which (1) “flies open,” and (2) provides resistance when it is being closed can be considered by a reasonable trier of fact to be considered to move into position by force of a spring.

Defendant appealed, assigning error to the trial court’s denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal. Defendant was charged with being a felon was possession of a restricted weapon, ORS 166.270(2), and carrying a concealed weapon, ORS 166.240, for carrying a pocket knife that the state alleged had “a blade that projects or swings into position by force of a spring.” At trial, the state offered the pocket knife as an exhibit, and the trial court admitted it into evidence. The blade sat within the knife handle. The knife had two “nubs.” When the each of the nubs were pressed the knife blade moved into the open position with very little effort. The nubs were not like a button that is pushed to release a spring lock, and enable a spring to expand and push out a blade. In facts, the court commented it could not “see a spring, but it certainly feels like it is springing into place.” On appeal, defendant contended that the state did not present sufficient evidence to establish the knife moved into place by “force of spring.” The Court held that whether an object is a spring depends on its function. A spring need not have a particular shape or size. In this case, although no spring was visible, a reasonable trier of fact could find, as required to establish both of the crimes with which defendant was charged, that “the blade of defendant’s knife moved into position by force of spring.” Affirmed.

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