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State v. Nelson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-19-2011
Case #: A133642
Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; Rosenblum, S.J. Dissenting.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A133642.pdf

Evidence: Under the Confrontation Clause of Article I, section 11, if evidence exists that a victim made prior false accusations, the defendant may cross examine the complaining witness, unless the risk of prejudice, confusion, or embarrassment substantially outweigh the cross-examination.

Defendant appealed his conviction of six counts of displaying a child in a sexually explicit manner and sexual abuse in the third degree. Defendant claimed the trial court erred in excluding evidence that the victim falsely accused her stepbrothers of rape and her stepfather of sexual abuse. Defendant also renewed his argument that OEC 412 does not apply to false accusations. The facts stated most favorably by the state indicated the defendant told the victim to model naked and allow him to touch her in a sexual manner. Under the Confrontation Clause of Article I, section 11, evidence of a victim’s prior false accusations allowed the defendant to cross-examine the complaining witness unless the risk of prejudice, confusion, or embarrassment substantially outweighs the cross-examination. In this case, the trial court excluded the evidence without conducting the balancing test required under State v. LeClair. The trial court was required to balance the probative value of the victim’s false accusation of abuse against the risk or prejudice, confusion, and embarrassment toward the defendant. Vacated and remanded.