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State v. Patton

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-23-2013
Case #: A146229
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Duncan, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146229.pdf

Criminal Law: Material variance between pleadings and proof does not exist when a rational trier of fact could conclude, based on credible testimony and reasonable inferences, that a defendant committed the alleged crime.

Defendant appealed a conviction of first-degree theft. A witness observed Defendant remove electrical cables and extension cords from a construction site. Upon further investigation Defendant was arrested and charged with first-degree theft. The indictment alleged that Defendant had unlawfully taken "copper wire" valued at $750 or more. During trial the State introduced evidence that the items stolen were valued at $2,050. At the close of the State's case, Defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal. Defendant argued that the State had shown that the value of the "cables and extension cords" exceeded $750, but did not show that the "copper wire", as alleged in the indictment, was valued in excess of $750. Defendant also argued that the difference between the indictment and the State's trial allegations constituted prejudicial material variance. The court disagreed and convicted Defendant of first-degree theft. Defendant appealed. The Court held that a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the copper wire exceeded $750. Additionally, because a rational trier of fact could reach this conclusion based on the testimony offered at trial and all reasonable inferences from that testimony, the Court found that there was no variance between the allegation in the indictment and the evidence presented at trial. Affirmed.