State v. Lasky
Case #: A147889
Haselton, C. J. for the Court; Schuman, P. J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147889.pdf
Evidence: Evidence used to prove the required mental state of a particular crime is relevant unless the evidence is otherwise excluded by other State or Federal law.
Defendant appealed the trial court’s decision allowing the State’s motion in limine excluding an officer's statement. Defendant consigned a truck and trailer to a car lot so that they could be sold. Defendant went to the lot to retrieve them. The lot was locked and the consignor refused to turn over the items until a bill had been paid. Defendant called the police department and was allegedly informed that he could reclaim the items by driving them off the lot. Following this advice, Defendant went to the lot and retrieved the truck and trailer. The State made a motion in limine to have the officer's statement excluded as irrelevant. Defendant was charged with a number of crimes including unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV) under ORS 164.135. The trial court deemed the statement not relevant. On appeal, Defendant asserted that a Portland Police Department officer told him he could retrieve the vehicle in question by “simply driving them off” of the lot, which led Defendant to believe he had an honest claim of right to remove the vehicle. The Court held that the evidence was relevant to the UUV convictions because the evidence could have refuted the required element that Defendant acted with a culpable mental state. Conviction on Count 1 and Count 2 for unauthorized use of a vehicle reversed and remanded; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.