State v. Erickson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-08-2017
  • Case #: A158448
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Egan, J.; & Aoyagi, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 164.015, theft is committed when a person “with intent to deprive another of property, takes such property from an owner.”

Defendant appealed from a judgment of conviction for first-degree theft, second-degree criminal trespass, and second degree-criminal mischief. Defendant assigned error to trial court’s denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal. On appeal, Defendant argued that the state failed to prove a material element of both theft and criminal mischief: that the property in dispute was actually the "property of another." In response, the state conceded that it was required to prove that the Defendant had taken the "property of another," but argued that it wasn’t legally necessary to identify the owner of the excavator, nor to disprove that it had been abandoned. Thus, the state contended that the evidence offered at trial sufficiently established that the excavator was the “property of another.” Under ORS 164.015, theft is committed when a person “with intent to deprive another of property, takes such property from an owner.” The Court of Appeals concluded that the state was not required to "prove the identity of any specific owner," but that it was "required to produce affirmative evidence […] sufficient to allow [a] jury to find that the property at issue [was] not abandoned." Therefore, the Court held that because the state had failed to prove that the excavator was the property of another, the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion for acquittal. Convictions on Counts 1 and 4 reversed; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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