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State v. Perez-Chi

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-15-2012
Case #: A137433
Brewer, J. for the Court; Wollheim, P.J.; and Schuman, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A137433.pdf

Criminal Law: If an erroneous jury instruction is given and a conviction could have been based on that erroneous instruction, the instruction was not harmless and the case must be remanded.

Defendant's case was on remand from the Oregon Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of State v. Lopez-Minjarez. Lopez-Minjarez ruled that the "natural and probable consequences" instruction was erroneous. Defendant was party to felony robbery and at some point during the robbery, another individual fired a gun that killed an individual. The Court of Appeals had previously reversed and remanded the case to the trial court because the jury was instructed regarding Defendant's felony robbery and murder charges with the "natural and probable consequences" and the "in the course of and in furtherance of" instructions. The question was whether the initial offense, felony robbery, was completed prior to the shooting of the victim. Following Lopez-Minjarez, the Court of Appeals again remanded the case to the trial court because the jury could have convicted Defendant on an incorrect understanding of the law. Even though there was a possibility that the jury convicted Defendant under a correct understanding of the law, the erroneous instruction may have played a role in their decision. Convictions for felony murder and robbery reversed and remanded; remanded for sentencing; otherwise affirmed.