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State v. Smith

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-16-2013
Case #: A147759
Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Egan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147759.pdf

Criminal Procedure: To prove that a defendant "hindered" a report under ORS 165.572, the state must establish that the defendant's actions made it slow or difficult for another person to make a report. That requires proof of some discernible interruption or delay in the making of a report above the de minimis level.

Smith appealed his conviction for interference with making a report under ORS 165.572. Smith assigned error to the trial court's denial of his motion for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that the statute requires the State to prove that Smith's conduct caused a specific result, namely that it prevented or hindered the victim from making a 9-1-1 call. The Court of Appeals concluded that to prove that a defendant "hindered" a report under the statute, the State must establish that the defendant's actions made it slow or difficult for another person to make a report. That requires proof of some discernible interruption or delay in the making of a report. Evidence that there was a de minimis effect is not sufficient. Here, the victim had already dialed 9-1-1 when Smith grabbed her charger, the phone stayed in her hand, she did not have to redial her call to 9-1-1, and she continued to make her report while Smith left the apartment. Therefore, the Court concluded that a rational jury could not have found that Smith hindered the victim from making a report, however could have found attempted interference with making a report. Accordingly, Smith's conviction for interference with making a report reversed and remanded for entry of a judgment of conviction for attempted interference with making a report; otherwise affirmed.