State v. Rivera-Ortiz

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-18-2017
  • Case #: A157427
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Shorr, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

“A jury may perceive expert testimony as scientific if it rests on a scientific underpinning unfamiliar to the jury, or is phrased in scientific terms.” State v. Beltran-Chavez, 286 Or App 590, 600 (2017).

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for reckless driving arising from a traffic collision (ORS 811.140). Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his motions in limine to exclude an officer’s opinion testimony regarding circumstances of the collision and Defendant’s rate of speed. On appeal, Defendant argued the testimony should have been excluded under OEC 702 because it constituted scientific evidence for which the state failed to lay the proper foundation required by State v. Brown, 297 Or 404 (1984). “A jury may perceive expert testimony as scientific if it rests on a scientific underpinning unfamiliar to the jury, or is phrased in scientific terms.”  State v. Beltran-Chavez, 286 Or App 590, 600 (2017). The Court of Appeals found the officer testimony was not scientific evidence because the officer’s testimony was based on his training and experience, and did not rely on specialized research, scientific principles, or complex calculations. The Court ultimately held the trial court did not err in admitting the testimony because the State was not required to lay a Brown foundation for its admission at trial. Affirmed.  

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