State v. Makin

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 09-14-2016
  • Case #: S063440
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; Baldwin, J.; Brewer, J.; & Armstrong, J. pro tempore.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 163.547(1)(a), leaving children in a vehicle where controlled substances are possessed with an intent to deliver them, as opposed to actually delivering them while the children were present, does not constitute child neglect in the first degree.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal on the charge of first-degree child neglect. The conviction was based on the presence of methamphetamine and items for selling the drug in Defendant’s vehicle while his children were with him. Notably, there was no evidence that Defendant had actually sold any drugs while his children were in the car with him. Under ORS 163.547(1)(a), child neglect includes leaving, or allowing a child to stay, in a vehicle “where controlled substances are being criminally delivered or manufactured.” Defendant argued that the statute did not “include a vehicle in which a person possesses methamphetamine with the intent to deliver it at some undefined point in the future.” Analyzing the text, context, and legislative history of the child neglect statute, the Court concluded that the statute was not intended to include “knowingly leaving or allowing a child to stay in a vehicle where controlled substances are possessed with an intent to deliver them.” Child neglect conviction reversed. 

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