Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


State v. Higgins

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-14-2013
Case #: A145077
Ortega, P. J. for the Court; Sercombe, J; and De Muniz, S. J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145077.pdf

Evidence: Failure by the trial court to sua sponte prevent the victim's mother in a sexual penetration, sodomy and rape case to comment on the victim's credibility constitutes plain error and requires reversal.

Higgins appealed conviction for unlawful sexual penetration, sodomy, and rape. Higgins was dating the victim's mother, and during a trip to Oregon from California, Higgins forced intercourse on his girlfriend's daughter. Higgins assigned many errors to the trial court, but the Court of Appeals only addressed whether the trial court's failure to sua sponte refuse to allow the victim’s mother to testify on the victim’s credibility was an error requiring reversal. The victim’s mother stated that after hearing her daughter tell her that Higgins “forced himself” on her, the mother testified that, “I waited like so many hours and let her repeat it to me again that way I knew for sure she wasn't lying." The Court of Appeals held that the error was plain and required reversal of defendant's convictions and remand for a new trial. Reversed and remanded.