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State v. Garcia-Cisneros

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 3, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
CINTHYA GARCIA-CISNEROS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted November 25, 2015

         Washington County Circuit Court C132470CR; Rick Knapp, Judge.

          Jesse Merrithew argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief was Levi Merrithew Horst LLP.

          Jennifer S. Lloyd, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and Egan, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver toward injured persons. ORS 811.705. On appeal, she assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion for judgment of acquittal based on the insufficiency of the evidence. Defendant contends that the state failed to introduce sufficient evidence to prove her guilt because it did not introduce evidence that defendant knew of or had reason to know of the accident when she was still at the scene of the accident. The state does not dispute defendant's assertion that she did not have the requisite knowledge that she injured two people while she was at the scene of the accident. Rather, the state responds that ORS 811.705 requires a driver who is unaware that he or she has been in an accident until after driving away from the accident to return and perform the duties listed in the statute.

         Held:

         ORS 811.705 does not require a driver to return to the scene of the accident after he or she has left the scene and later learns that he or she was involved in an accident that injured or killed another person. Thus, the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal because there was insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knew of or had reason to know that she had caused injury to two people while she was at the scene of the accident.

         Reversed.

          EGAN, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver toward injured persons. ORS 811.705. On appeal, she assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion for judgment of acquittal based on the insufficiency of the evidence.[1]Defendant contends that the state failed to introduce sufficient evidence to prove her guilt because it did not introduce evidence that defendant knew of or had reason to know of the accident when she was still at the scene of the accident. We conclude that, based on our construction of ORS 811.705, the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal. Accordingly, we reverse.

         "When reviewing a trial court's denial of a motion for a judgment of acquittal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the state." State v. Werner. 281 Or.App. 154, 156, 383 P.3d 875 (2016), rev den, 361 Or 311 (2017). We state the facts consistently with that standard.

         Defendant was driving home in her boyfriend's Nissan Pathfinder with her brother and her boyfriend. When defendant was about one block away from her house, defendant's brother urged her to drive through a large pile of leaves on the right side of the road. Defendant drove through the pile of leaves, and felt what she and the other passengers described as a "bump" when the front passenger-side tire hit the leaves. Defendant said that it felt "[l]ike if I went [over] a pothole." Defendant apologized to her boyfriend for hitting something with his car and he responded that "its fine, it's probably just a log or rock." Defendant continued driving down the road, turned right, and turned into her driveway. When defendant and the other passengers got out of the car, ...


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