State v. Clark

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 03-08-2017
  • Case #: A154793
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; DeVore, J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Scientific testimony is admissible if it is (1) relevant under OEC 401; (2) of some assistance to the trier of fact under OEC 702; and (3) its probative value is not outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or jury confusion under OEC 403.

Defendant appealed his judgment of conviction of two counts of first-degree sodomy, ORS 163.405, and four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, ORS 163.427. He raised three assignments of error, all of which concerned the trial court’s exclusion of portions of testimony from Defendant’s expert witness, who testified as to what he believed to be the flaws of the investigatory interview of the five-year-old victim and about the developmental mental functions of young children. Scientific testimony is admissible if it is (1) relevant under OEC 401; (2) of some assistance to the trier of fact under OEC 702; and (3) under OEC 403, its probative value is not outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice or jury confusion. A court determines “whether scientific evidence is probative under OEC 401” and conducts the “relevancy and prejudice analysis implicated in OEC 702’s helpfulness standard.” The Defendant did not preserve his challenge because he failed to make an offer of proof as to any other statistical evidence that he would have presented to the trial court which was incorrectly excluded. The Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court did not reversibly err, either based on the merits or because the defendant did not preserve the error. Affirmed. 

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