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State v. Dickerson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-18-2013
Case #: A147467
Duncan, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147467.pdf

Criminal Law: Under ORS 164.354, the phrase “property of another” includes property in which another has any legal or equitable interest and is not limited to proprietary or possessor ownership.

Defendant appealed his conviction for criminal mischief in the second degree. Defendant and his son shot two state-owned deer decoys. Defendant was convicted of criminal mischief and appealed the lower court's denial of his motion for acquittal. In his motion, Defendant argued that the State failed to prove he intentionally damaged the “property of another.” Defendant argued that wild deer are not state property until reduced to physical possession by the state, so he cannot have had the intention to damage state property if he believed the deer to be wild. In the alternative, the State argued that even if a wild animal has not been reduced to physical possession, it is still the property of the state as the sovereign. The Court found the State’s definition correct, holding that while the state does not have a proprietary or possessory interest in wild animals, it does have a legal interest rooted in English common law which observes wild animals as property of the state. Affirmed.