State v. Jones

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 05-24-2017
  • Case #: A155326
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the Court; Wolheim, S.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OEC 404(3) evidence of prior acts that bear on a person’s character is permissible, if the evidence is offered for a non-character purpose, and a theory of relevance for the nonpropensity purposes of 404(3) are met.

In an appeal of a conviction of second-degree robbery, Defendant, assigned error to the trial court’s admission of evidence of prior robbery convictions. On appeal, Defendant argued the trial court erred in finding that the State sufficiently established the relevancy of his prior convictions to any of the OEC 404(3) nonpropensity purposes. The State, relying on State v. Williams, argued that under OEC 404(4), evidence of prior acts is generally admissible for any purpose so long as it logically relevant, and abides by the limitations of the Due Process Clause. State v. Williams, 357 Or 1, 346 P3d 455 (2015). The Supreme Court explained in State v. Baughman, 361 Or 386, 406, ___ P3d____ (2017), that it’s superseding statement in Williams meant that OEC 404(4) supersedes only the first sentence of OEC 404(3). Therefore, the remainder of 404(3) which allows the admission of prior acts for purposes other than to prove the character of a person, and the conformity of the person’s actions to wit, remained intact. Under OEC 404(3) evidence of other acts that bear on a person’s character is permissible, if the evidence is offered for a non-character purpose. State v. Pitt, 352 Or 566, 576, 293 P3d 1002 (2012). The Court of Appeals determined that the State did not present any evidence regarding the circumstances, factual bases, or legal theories of the prior convictions, nor did it show great similarities between the current charges and the prior acts. Thus, the Court held that the State failed to establish the admissibility of the prior convictions under any theories of relevance for the nonpropensity purposes listed in OEC 404(3).  Reversed and remanded. 

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