State v. Copeland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 07-25-2013
  • Case #: S060370
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J., for the Court; En Banc
  • Full Text Opinion

Family Abuse Prevention Act certificate of service of a restraining order is an official record and is not testimonial evidence.

On review from the Court of Appeals for violation of a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, defendant asserted that his confrontation rights were violated under state and federal law. Defendant’s first argument was that a certificate of service of the restraining order was inadmissible as evidence under Article 1, Section 11, of the Oregon Constitution, because the state failed to establish that the deputy sheriff who served the restraining order on defendant was unavailable to testify. Second, defendant argued that the certificate of service was “testimonial” and therefore inadmissible as evidence under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The lower courts heard both of defendant’s constitutional objections, but held that the certificate was admissible. Regarding defendant’s Article 1, Section 11 argument, the Supreme Court found that the certificate issued by the deputy sheriff was an official record that did not include facts or opinions and thus fit the official records hearsay exception and was not “witness” evidence for confrontation right purposes. Regarding defendant’s Sixth Amendment challenge, the Court found that the deputy sheriff did not prepare the certificate of service during the course of an investigation, but rather as an administrative function of the court system. Following the reasoning in Crawford and Melendez-Diaz regarding business and public records, the Court held that the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights were not violated, because the certificate of service was not testimonial. Affirmed.

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