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State v. Caldwell

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-29-2011
Case #: A145511
Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J. & Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A145511.pdf

Post-Conviction Relief: The mere existence of a restraining order does not constitute corroborating evidence sufficient to warrant a conviction for violation of a restraining order when the only other evidence presented by the state is the defendant's confession.

Defendant had been served with a restraining order against Weiss. Weiss was in the process of speaking with an officer regarding a complaint that defendant violated the restraining order when defendant called Weiss on the phone. The interviewing officer answered, and defendant admitted to knowing of the existence of the restraining order. Defendant later admitted to police that he had sent 25 text messages to Weiss. Defendant was charged with 25 counts of contempt for violating the restraining order. The first 24 were based on the text messages, while count 25 was based on the phone call to Weiss. Defendant was only convicted of counts 1 and 25, but argued on appeal that the conviction on count 1 should be reversed because the state presented no corroborating evidence to prove its case, only the statement by defendant that he sent the text messages. The trial court based its conviction on the fact that the issuance of the restraining order constituted corroboration. The Court of Appeals found that the existence of the restraining order alone did not constitute corroboration, and that the state was required to present some other extrinsic evidence beyond defendant's confession in order to warrant a conviction on count 1. Reversed as to count 1; otherwise affirmed.