State v. Kimbrough

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 04-26-2017
  • Case #: A157030
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & DeHoog, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Defendant's conduct of (1) soliciting his cellmate to "find someone" who would commit murder for payment, and (2) providing that cellmate a note with specific instructions on how to commit the murders was enough to establish that Defendant's conduct was a "substantial step" towards the commission of a crime. Therefore, defendant's attempted murder convictions upheld.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction four counts of attempted aggravated murder, three counts of attempted murder, and two counts of tampering with witnesses.  While awaiting trial on unrelated charges, Defendant solicited his cellmate to arrange to kill key witnesses in the case and the district attorney.  Defendant argued based on the definition of "attempt", ORS 161.405(1), that the trial court erred when it denied his motion of acquittal because Defendant did not take a “substantial step” toward the commission of each of those crimes, and thus cannot be guilty of attempt. Citing State v. Carlton, 361 Or 29, 45 (2017), the Court held that to constitute as a substantial step, a defendant’s conduct must (1) advance the criminal purpose charged and (2) provide some verification of the existence of that purpose.  Under that standard, an attempt must be “established by conduct that is corroborative of the actor’s criminal purpose.”  Thus, the Court found a reasonable trier of fact could find that the defendant had taken a “substantial step” towards the commission of the crime.  Affirmed.  

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