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State v. Medina

Supreme Court of Oregon, En Banc

May 14, 2015

STATE OF OREGON, Respondent on Review,
v.
EMILIO JUNIOR MEDINA, Petitioner on Review

Argued and Submitted January 12, 2015

On review from the Court of Appeals CC CR100685; CA A147883. [*]

State v. Medina, 262 Or.App. 140, 324 P.3d 526 (2014)

Zachary Lovett Mazer, Deputy Public Defender, Salem, argued the cause and filed the brief for petitioner on review. With him on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

Michael S. Shin, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent on review. With him on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

OPINION

Page 109

[357 Or. 256] KISTLER, J.

The state charged defendant with identity theft for signing two documents with another person's name. At trial, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on the ground that no reasonable person could find that, in signing those documents, he had committed the charged acts. Additionally, defendant argued that, if he had committed those acts, no reasonable person could find that he had done so with the requisite mental state. The trial court denied defendant's motion, convicted him of identity theft, as well as three other charged offenses, and entered judgment accordingly. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment. State v. Medina, 262 Or.App. 140, 148, 324 P.3d 526 (2014). Having allowed defendant's petition for review, we now reverse the Court of Appeals decision and the trial court's judgment as to defendant's conviction for identity theft and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

The parties submitted this case to the trial court on stipulated facts, which consisted primarily of the police report, a signed fingerprint card, and a signed property receipt. The following facts are taken from the police report. After a police officer stopped defendant for speeding, defendant identified himself as Sergio Molina, told the officer his date of birth, and explained that he used to live in Washington. Defendant, however, did not present a driver's license or other type of identification to the officer. The officer called the dispatcher, who could not locate any person named Sergio Molina in either Oregon or Washington. The officer arrested defendant for failure to present a driver's license and took defendant to the local police station.

At the police station, defendant signed two documents--a fingerprint card and a property receipt--as Sergio Molina. Regarding the fingerprint card, the police report states that, after defendant was taken to the police station, he " was fingerprinted." It adds that, " [w]hen [the officer] asked [defendant] to sign the fingerprint card, [defendant] signed it with the name Sergio Molina." Finally, it states that, after defendant signed the card, the officer " faxed [defendant's] fingerprints to AFIS [the Automated [357 Or. 257] Fingerprint Identification System]." [1] The police report contains no further discussion of the fingerprint card, and it does not mention the property receipt.[2]

After checking the fingerprints on the card, AFIS notified the police department that defendant's name is Emilio Medina, not Sergio Molina. On further questioning, defendant admitted that the name and date of birth that he had given the officer were fictitious. After learning defendant's real name, the officer also discovered that defendant was on probation. He contacted defendant's probation officer, who explained that defendant might have given the officer a fictitious name because he was aware of a warrant for his arrest.

The indictment charged defendant with four offenses, only one of which--identity theft--is at issue here.[3] Regarding that offense,

Page 110

the indictment alleged that defendant " did unlawfully, with the intent to deceive or defraud, utter or convert to defendant's own use personal identification of 'Sergio Molina.'"

Before this case was submitted to the trial court, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on the charge of identity theft. He argued that no reasonable trier of fact could find that, in telling the officer his name was Sergio Molina and in signing the fingerprint identification card and property receipt, he had " uttered" or " converted to [his] own use" another person's personal identification. He also argued that no reasonable trier of fact could find that, in using a false name, he had intended to deceive the officer. [357 Or. 258] The trial court denied defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal, convicted him of the four charged offenses, and entered judgment accordingly. The Court of Appeals upheld the challenged ruling and, having done so, affirmed the trial court's judgment. We allowed defendant's petition for review.

Before turning to the issues that defendant raises on review, we first set out the text of the identity theft statute, which provides, in part:

" A person commits the crime of identity theft if the person, with the intent to deceive or to defraud, obtains, possesses, transfers, creates, utters or converts to the person's own use the personal identification of another person."

ORS 165.800(1). The identity theft statute defines the phrases " personal identification" and " another person." " 'Personal identification' includes, but is not limited to, any written document or electronic data that does, or purports to, provide information concerning," among other things, a person's name, address, telephone number, Social Security number, or signature. ORS 165.800(4)(b). " 'Another person' means an individual, whether living or deceased, [and] an imaginary person * * *." ORS 165.800(4)(a).

Given those statutory provisions, the parties agree that the trial court reasonably could have found that the fingerprint identification card and the property receipt constituted the " personal identification of another person." That is, the trial court reasonably could have found that the fingerprint identification card and the property receipt were written documents that provided or purported to provide the personal identification of another person.[4] The parties disagree whether the trial court reasonably could have found either that defendant had the requisite mental state or that, if he did, he committed the charged acts--namely, that he uttered or converted to his own use the fingerprint card or the property receipt.

[357 Or. 259] We begin with the issue on which defendant focuses most of his attention on review--whether the trial court reasonably could have found that he acted with " the intent to deceive" when he used a false name to sign the fingerprint card and the property receipt. As we understand defendant's argument on that issue, it runs as follows: When the legislature first enacted the identity theft statute in 1999, that statute did not prohibit giving a false name to a police officer. Defendant grounds that argument textually on the fact that, in 1999, the identity theft statute prohibited engaging in certain acts only with the " intent to defraud" and also on the legislative history of the statute. Defendant argues that an " intent to defraud" means an intent to obtain a financial or material gain by means of a falsehood. He contends that, because giving a false name to the officer was not likely to result in any financial or material gain, the trial court could not infer that he had an intent to defraud.

Defendant acknowledges that the legislature amended the identity theft statute in 2001 to prohibit acting with " intent to deceive," as well as with " intent to defraud." However, he argues that neither the text nor the ...


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