State v. Garcia-Rocio

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 06-14-2017
  • Case #: A154601
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J., concurring; & Armstrong, P.J., dissenting
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OEC 403, although a trial court is not required to make an explicit record of its thoughts about each of the four OEC 403 balancing analysis steps laid out in State v. Mayfield, the record must indicate that the trial court considered the substance of those four steps, and "engage[d] in the conscious process of balancing the costs of the evidence against its benefits."  State v. Conrad, 280 Or App 325, 331 (2016), rev den, 360 Or 851 (2017).  

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for rape, sexual abuse, and sodomy.  At a pretrial hearing, Defendant moved to exclude certain interviews of Defendant, and requested the court to perform OEC 403 balancing to rule the interviews more prejudicial than probative.  Defendant assigned error to the trial court's denial of the motion. On appeal, Defendant argued the trial admitted the interviews without making a record demonstrating it conducted OEC 403 balancing, as Defendant requested, and as required by State v. Mayfield, 302 OR 631 (1987).  Under OEC 403, although a trial court is not required to make an explicit record of its thoughts about each of the four OEC 403 balancing analysis steps laid out in State v. Mayfield, the record must indicate that the trial court considered the substance of those four steps, and "engage[d] in the conscious process of balancing the costs of the evidence against its benefits."  State v. Conrad, 280 Or App 325, 331 (2016), rev den, 360 Or 851 (2017).  The Court of Appeals concluded the trial court erred in admitting the interviews without making a record that it conducted OEC 403 balancing because the trial court (1) did not have time to consider Defendant's OEC 403 objections before the pretrial hearing, and (2) did not refer to any OEC 403 factor in its ruling.  Since the admission of the interviews could have affected the verdict, the Court concluded the error was not harmless.  Reversed and remanded. 

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