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State v. Valle

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-27-2013
Case #: A145111
Duncan, J. for the Court; En Banc; Nakamoto, J. dissented.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145111.pdf

Evidence: Evidence is admissible as relevant impeachment evidence when it supports an inference that a witness had a personal interest or bias to testify in a particular manner.

Defendant appealed the trial court's exclusion of impeachment evidence, specifically evidence that the alleged victim, M, had applied for a U visa based on the fact that she was abused. Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree sodomy and four counts of second degree sexual abuse. M was not a United States citizen. U visas are available to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Defendant laid a foundation indicating the possibility that M applied for the visa on the ground that M was abused. Defendant presented information from which a jury could reasonably infer that M had a personal interest to testify in a manner that was consistent with her application for the opportunity to receive the U visa. The Court reasoned that the trial court erred because the proffered impeachment evidence was relevant and its admission was necessary to make an initial showing of M’s self-interest. Therefore, the evidence was admissible and should not have been excluded. The Court held that the trial court erred in excluding the impeachment evidence and that the error was not harmless. Reversed and remanded.