State v. Flores

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 04-12-2017
  • Case #: A158090
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Flynn, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

"In a jury trial, an error is harmless if there is little likelihood that the particular error affected the verdict." State v. Davis, 336 OR 19, 32 (2003).

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for two counts of first-degree sexual penetration (ORS 163.411), two counts of first-degree sodomy (ORS 163.405), two counts of first-degree rape (ORS 163.375), and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse (ORS 163.427). Defendant assigned error to the trial court's admission of testimony regarding crime lab report regarding Touch DNA analysis of the victim’s clothing. On appeal, Defendant argued that the victim's credibility was the central issue at trial, allowing the jury to speculate that the DNA belonged to defendant was corroborative of the victim's testimony and was prejudicial to the defendant. The state argued that this testimony was admissible, but was nevertheless harmless as it never contended that the DNA evidence implicated the defendant. The factors relevant to determining whether an erroneous admission of evidence likely affected a jury's verdict include: (1) the nature and context of the alleged error, (2) whether the jury would have regarded the evidence as duplicative or unhelpful during deliberations, and (3) whether the evidence concerns a central issue in the case. State v. Davis, 336 OR 19, 32 (2003). Additionally, the trial court may consider (4) whether the evidence was "passed over lightly" or rather, used to support a party's theory. State v. Schiller-Munneman, 359 OR 808, 820-821 (2016). The Court of Appeals held that, even if the trial court erred in admitting of testimony regarding the crime lab’ report, the error was harmless because (1) it didn't necessarily corroborate the victim’s accusations, (2) was likely considered unhelpful in deliberations, and (3) the evidence was “passed over lightly” by the state. Affirmed.

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