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State v. Chen

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 29, 2014

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JING SHENG CHEN, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted March 19, 2014

Clackamas County Circuit Court. CR1001786. Steven L. Maurer, Judge.

Lindsey K. Detweiler, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

Paul L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney Genereal, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Greg Rios, Assistant Attorney General.

Before Duncan, Presiding Judge, and Haselton, Chief Judge, and Wollheim, Judge.

OPINION

Page 759

[266 Or.App. 619] DUNCAN, P. J.

Defendant appeals his conviction after a jury trial of a number of offenses arising out of his involvement with a marijuana grow operation.[1] We write only to address defendant's assignment of error challenging the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal on the charge of delivery of marijuana, and we affirm.

On review of the trial court's denial of defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal, we view the relevant facts, including any reasonable inferences, in the light most favorable to the state to determine whether a rational trier of fact could find that the state proved every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Hall, 327 Or. 568, 570, 966 P.2d 208 (1998). Stated in accordance with that standard, the relevant facts are as follows.

In June 2010, police received information from Portland General Electric (PGE) about a possible theft of power at a house on Southeast 58th Drive in an unincorporated area near Milwaukie. PGE had determined that the power meter at the house had been bypassed and a large amount of electricity was being used. Police surveillance over a period of six to eight weeks led police to conclude that no one was living in the house and that it likely contained a marijuana grow operation. Police saw a Toyota pickup truck owned by defendant travel between the 58th Drive house and defendant's house on Southeast 87th Avenue in Portland. On July 12, 2010, police saw the pickup truck transport a load of lumber to the 58th Drive house. From July 20 through the month of August 2010, police observed defendant entering the 58th Drive house nearly every day, sometimes during the day and sometimes at night. On August 7, 2010, defendant entered the house with a marijuana " grow hood." Occasionally, police saw an older man, Zhen (later determined to be defendant's brother-in-law), tending the yard in the front of the 58th Street house. The [266 Or.App. 620] PGE account was in Zhen's name, but neither defendant nor Zhen owned the 58th Drive house.

On September 7, 2010, defendant loaded seven cardboard boxes from his own garage into the back of the truck and put a scrap of wood on top of the boxes. Police stopped defendant at a parking lot on 82nd Avenue and placed him in handcuffs. The seven boxes in the back of the truck were later determined to contain fresh marijuana trimmings in plastic bags.

Police subsequently searched the 58th Drive house pursuant to a search warrant and found a large and complex marijuana operation, including structural modifications (such as a false door) designed to conceal the operation; specialized electrical wiring, lighting, ventilation, and controls; and over 400 marijuana plants at various stages of growth, with an estimated street value of over $1.2 million. The investigating officer, McCollister, testified at trial that the operation was " for-profit manufacturing for distribution."

Among other offenses, defendant was charged with delivery of marijuana for consideration, under ORS ...


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