State v. Dickerson

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Property Law
  • Date Filed: 03-12-2015
  • Case #: S062108
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Baldwin, J. for the court, En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Wildlife is property of the State because the State’s interest in wildlife is both a legal interest derived from common law, and is codified in Oregon Code 39-201(1930).

Defendant appealed his conviction for second-degree criminal mischief. Defendant and his son shot at two state owned wildlife decoys which they believed were wild deer. State Troopers observed defendant shooting the decoys after legal hunting hours. At trial, defendant moved for acquittal and argued that he did not intentionally damage “property of another”, because he believed that the wildlife decoys were wild deer, and therefore did not intend to damage not “property of another”. The State argued that they have a sovereign interest in wildlife, and therefore the intent to damage “property of another” is applicable. The trial court agreed with the State. Defendant appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. Defendant appealed, and the Supreme Court reviewed the decision to resolve the issue of whether wild deer are “property of another”. The Court looked to the definition of “property of another” under ORS 164.305(2), and whether the State’s “sovereign interest” in wildlife is a “legal or equitable interest” under the statute. The Court held that the State’s interest in wildlife is both a legal interest derived from common law, and is codified in Oregon Code 39-201(1930). Affirmed.

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