State v. Clark
Case #: A146396
Duncan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Brewer, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146396.pdf
Evidence: When a mental state of recklessness is required, a jury instruction laying out elements of reasonable driving is not irrelevant to the jury in determining whether a defendant disregarded reasonable risks of driving.
Defendant driver appeals from a conviction of several misdemeanors arising from a traffic accident. One count was for a DUII and six counts were for misdemeanors requiring a mental state of recklessness. Defendant first assigned error to the jury instruction, which laid out elements of a reasonable driver for the jury to consider. Defendant argued that this instruction misstated the proper standard of care. Defendant also contended that that the trial court erred in failing to give a clarifying sentence stating that breaching the general duties of a driver is not in itself reckless. The State argued that the objections were not preserved, and that the instruction was permissible under State v. Stringer. The Court of Appeals held that the second objection was not preserved, but the first was. As to the first, the Court held that the instructions did assist the jury by explaining how a reasonable person would drive, and allowing them to compare to defendant’s driving. Affirmed.