State v. Wolf

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-01-2017
  • Case #: A158751
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A defendant may "raise the defense of self-defense" by either (1) providing the state with a pre-trial, written notice; or (2) by the provision of "affirmative evidence by a defense witness in the defendant’s case in chief.” Once the defense of self-defense has been properly raised, the state is burdened with disproving the application of the defense beyond a reasonable doubt. ORS 161.055(3); State v. Boyce, 120 Or App 299, 305-306 (1993).

Defendant appealed from a judgment of conviction for fourth-degree assault under ORS 163.160. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s refusal to provide a jury instruction of self-defense. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in ruling that "there wasn’t any evidence about [defendant] acting in self-defense.” In response, State argued that the jury instruction for self-defense was not valid because the Defendant was the initial aggressor. A defendant may "raise the defense of self-defense" by either: (1) providing the state with a pre-trial, written notice; or (2) by the provision of "affirmative evidence by a defense witness in the defendant’s case in chief.” Once the defense of self-defense has been properly raised, the state is burdened with disproving the application of the defense beyond a reasonable doubt. ORS 161.055(3); State v. Boyce, 120 Or App 299, 305-306 (1993). The Court of Appeals concluded that Defendant satisfied the requirements for self-defense because, based on testimony from Defendant's witness and the multiple discrepancies existing in the record, a factfinder could have rationally concluded that the state didn't meet its burden for disproving the application of self-defense. Accordingly, the Court held that the lower court erred in denying the provision of the requested jury instruction. Reversed and remanded.


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