State v. Kerne

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 12-13-2017
  • Case #: A159923
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Per Article VII, § 3 of the Oregon Constitution, where a trial court commits an error in rendering its verdict but, upon sufficient review, it is determined that the judgment is essentially the same as it should have been in the absence of the error, the judgment must be affirmed. State v. Davis, 336 Or 19, 28 (2003).

Defendant appealed a conviction for 10 counts of first-degree rape, ORS 163.375, and 10 counts of coercion, ORS 163.275. Defendant assigned error to the trial court's failure to explicitly instruct the jury on the mens rea requirement of first-degree rape, ORS 163.375. On appeal, Defendant contended that "that the omission of [a jury] instruction constitute[d] plain error," and sought reversal of the rape convictions. In response, State argued that even if the trial court's omission of the instruction was a plain error, it was harmless, and therefore didn't constitute a basis for reversal. Per Article VII, § 3 of the Oregon Constitution, where a trial court commits an error in rendering its verdict but, upon sufficient review, it is determined that the judgment is essentially the same as it should have been in the absence of the error, the judgment must be affirmed. State v. Davis, 336 Or 19, 28 (2003). The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court plainly erred by failing to include instruct the jury as to the mens rea element of rape. However, the Court held that the error was harmless since the jury also found that Defendant knew about the coercive nature of his sexual contact with the victim. Affirmed.

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