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State v. Colon

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-15-2012
Case #: A145769
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145769.pdf

Evidence: The credibility of a witness may be impeached or bolstered in the form of reputation or opinion testimony regarding truthfulness of character if a foundation is established showing the witness has adequate contacts with the person to form a current personal opinion of the person regarding their truthfulness.

Defendant was convicted of fourth-degree assault and appealed, claiming the court erred by not allowing the victim's cousin to testify as to the truthfulness of the victim. The State responded that the defendant had not preserved her claims of error. At trial, defense counsel inquired as to the truthfulness of the complainant. The trial court sustained the State's objections as lacking proper foundation and Defendant was subsequently convicted. The Court of Appeals held that because the cousin had already stated that the victim was a "drama queen," and therefore prone to over-exaggeration, the question of her truthfulness was apparent from the context, thereby preserving the claim of error. In analyzing whether the trial court erred in excluding the cousin's testimony about the truthfulness of the victim, the Court stated that OEC 608(1) allows the credibility of a witness to be impeached or bolstered in the form of reputation or opinion testimony regarding truthfulness of character. To do so, a foundation must be established that consists of a showing of adequate contacts between the cousin and the victim for the cousin to form a current personal opinion of the victim regarding her truthfulness. The Court held that because that foundation was already established, the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the testimony. Reversed and remanded.