State v. Wilson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-22-2014
  • Case #: A150479
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J. for the court; Ortega, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Though truth vouching testimony must be stricken sua sponte by the trial court, testimony regarding the manner in which a victim communicates information is admissible because it is most closely related to the victim’s demeanor and not related to whether the witness in fact believed the victim testimony.

Defendant appealed a conviction for second-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana to a minor, and three counts of unlawful delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Defendant was convicted of smoking marijuana with his fourteen-year-old niece while she was staying at his home during spring break. While intoxicated the defendant had sexual intercourse with the minor child. During the trial the prosecutor spoke with two individuals who both testified that the victim was convincingly upset when she disclosed the incidents of illegality and did not appear to be “faking” her emotional representations. Of five assignments of error claimed by Defendant, the Court found only two merited discussion. The assignments of error were that the trial court failed to omit the testimony of two witnesses who said that the child victim’s distraught disposition while describing the sexual abuse appeared to be “not fake.” The Court determined that the trial court did not err in allowing the testimony because it was not impermissible vouching because they were speaking about the way in which the victim communicated, not about whether they thought her testimony was true. Affirmed.

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