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State v. Velasquez

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 28, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RIANNA C. VELASQUEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted August 23, 2016

         Multnomah County Circuit Court 130545740 Michael C. Zusman, Judge pro tempore.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Matthew Blythe, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the briefs for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Paul L. Smith, Deputy Solicitor General, and David B. Thompson, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Sercombe, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and DeHoog, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for initiating a false report, ORS 162.375. Defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion for a judgment of acquittal. Defendant argues that she did not "initiate" a false report to the police officer as that term is used in the statute. She contends that her fiancé initiated a false report that their car had been involved in a hit and run accident, and that she provided false information in response to police questioning after that report had already been initiated. Held: When two persons act in concert and simultaneously make a false report to a police officer, each can commit the crime of initiating a false report. Defendant and her fiancé jointly initiated a single, false report to the police officer.

         Affirmed.

         [286 Or. 401]

          SERCOMBE, P. J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for initiating a false report, ORS 162.375. Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal (MJOA) because she did not "initiate" a report as that term is used in the statute. As explained below, we conclude that the trial court correctly construed ORS 162.375 and that the evidence presented by the state was sufficient to support defendant's conviction. Consequently, the court did not err in denying defendant's motion, and we affirm.

         When we review a trial court's denial of an MJOA, "we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the state." State v. Rodriguez, 283 Or.App. 536, 537, 390 P.3d 1104, rev den, 361 Or. 543 (2017) (internal quotation marks omitted). We state the facts consistently with that standard.

         On May 2, 2013, around 6:00 p.m., Gresham Police Officer Marciano was driving to a priority call, when he came upon a two-vehicle accident that had occurred near the intersection of Glisan and 188th Street. He stopped to see if there were any injuries and spoke with the parties who were involved-one of whom was defendant. Marciano learned that there were no injuries and that the parties intended to exchange information; he left the scene.

         That same evening, around 7:00 p.m., Officer Culp was driving on Northeast Multnomah Street, approximately 10 blocks from the location of the two-vehicle accident, when he was flagged down by defendant's fiance, Coleman; Culp pulled over. Defendant was with Coleman-they were standing in a parking lot near their car, a Chrysler Pacifica. Coleman told Culp that their "car was just hit" and that the car that had hit it had taken off. Moments later, defendant backed up Coleman's story and falsely told Culp that she had heard the crash and saw an older, maroon SUV take off heading west on Northeast Multnomah; she told Culp that she had not seen the driver of the SUV. She also told Culp that she had pulled her car into the parking lot after the crash occurred. The truth was that the damage to the car had resulted from the earlier accident in which defendant had been involved, and that there had not been a hit and run accident. [286 Or. 402]

         Culp had doubts about the damage to the car occurring in the manner that defendant and Coleman had reported to him. He followed up by starting to fill out a DMV crash report and by talking to Marciano about the accident that he had come upon earlier in the evening. Marciano confirmed that defendant and the Chrysler Pacifica were the same person and vehicle that he had encountered at the accident at Glisan and 188th. Both police officers went to defendant's residence around 11:00 p.m. and spoke with her. She ultimately ...


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