State v. Roman

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-25-2017
  • Case #: A160341
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: James, J. for the Court; DeHoog, P.J.; & Haselton, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When deciding whether to provide a jury with Uniform Jury Instruction 1029, the “witness-false-in-part” instruction, a court must “determine, from all the testimony, whether or not there has been sufficient evidence for the jury to decide that at least one witness consciously testified falsely.” Ireland v. Mitchell, 226 Or 286, 293. It is permissible to give the instruction based on contradictory physical evidence alone, if that evidence could cause a reasonable judge to determine that a jury could conclude, "that the defendant’s testimony did not ring true.” id. at 294.

Defendant appealed from a judgment of conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants, ORS 813.010(4); reckless driving, ORS 811.140; and failure to perform the duties of a driver, ORS 811.700.  Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s provision of Uniform Criminal Jury Instruction 1029, the “witness-false-in-part” instruction.  On appeal, Defendant argued that the instruction was inappropriate because his trial testimony was consistent with the latter of his statements to the officer, specifically that he wasn’t the driver. In response, State argued that Defendant's statements could be interpreted as "consciously false" when considered in relation to the initial statements made to the officers. Alternatively, State argued that the physical evidence contradicting Defendant's trial testimony was sufficient to permit the instruction. When deciding whether to provide a jury with Uniform Jury Instruction 1029, the “witness-false-in-part” instruction, a court must “determine, from all the testimony, whether or not there has been sufficient evidence for the jury to decide that at least one witness consciously testified falsely.” Ireland v. Mitchell, 226 Or 286, 293. It is permissible to give the instruction based on contradictory physical evidence alone, if that evidence could cause a reasonable judge to determine that a jury could conclude, "that the defendant’s testimony did not ring true.” id. at 294. The Court of Appeals held that trial court did not err in providing the instruction because photos of Defendant’s and the other occupant’s bruise patterns, taken shortly after the accident, directly contradicted Defendant’s trial testimony. Affirmed.

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