State v. Woodbury

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 11-29-2017
  • Case #: A159205
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Egan, J.; Aoyagi, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Per OEC 702, a witness can provide testimony “relative to a particular topic” as an expert if that person has the “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” to provide that opinion testimony. State v. Rogers, 330 Or 282 (2000); State v. Althof, 273 Or App 342 (2015).

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants, (DUII), ORS 813.010. Defendant assigned error to a defense expert witness ruling that limited a registered nurse from providing information regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI). On appeal, Defendant argued that under OEC 702, which provides for the admissibility of expert testimony, “a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.” Accordingly, Defendant contended that the trial court erred in limiting the scope of the expert witness's testimony, as her experience as a registered nurse satisfied the requirements of OEC 702. Per OEC 702, a witness can provide testimony “relative to a particular topic” as an expert if that person has the “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” to provide that opinion testimony. State v. Rogers, 330 Or 282 (2000); State v. Althof, 273 Or App 342 (2015). The Court of Appeals held that OEC 702 required the registered nurse’s opinion testimony to be allowed because she had experience and knowledge about TBI, and did not need to have training or education about TBI as the rule indicates an “or” not an “and” for the requirements to be an expert witness. Additionally, the Court held that the error to limit the expert witness testimony was not harmless to Defendant’s case. Reversed and remanded.

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