State v. Mazziotti

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 04-27-2017
  • Case #: S064085
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; Brewer, J.; Nakamoto, J.; & Baldwin, S.J. pro tempore.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under OEC 403, “in a criminal case, when a defendant objects to other acts evidence that is relevant only to prove the defendant’s character under OEC 404(4), the trial court must conduct balancing under OEC 403, according to the terms of that rule, to determine whether the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice.” State v. Baughman, 361 Or 386, 402 (2017).

State sought review of the Court of Appeals reversal of the trial court’s judgment convicting Defendant of failure to perform the duties of a driver, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. On appeal, State argued that the Court of Appeals decision should be reversed and the judgment of the trial court affirmed because the admission of other acts evidence over defendant’s objection, without conducting OEC 403 balancing, did not violate due process. Under OEC 403, “in a criminal case, when a defendant objects to other acts evidence that is relevant only to prove the defendant’s character under OEC 404(4), the trial court must conduct balancing under OEC 403, according to the terms of that rule, to determine whether the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice.” State v. Baughman, 361 Or 386, 402 (2017). In this case, the trial court admitted evidence of “two prior police encounters that Defendant had had with police officers and the criminal convictions that resulted from those encounters” without conducting OEC 403 balancing. The Supreme Court held that the trial court committed reversal error by improperly admitting the other acts evidence without conducting OEC 403 balancing. Affirmed.

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