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State v. Paul

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 20, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ERIC CHARLES PAUL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted August 23, 2017

         Linn County Circuit Court 14CR09530; David E. Delsman, Judge.

          David O. Ferry, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. On the brief were Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Lindsey Burrows, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Nathan Riemersma, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and James, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for one count of burglary in the first degree, ORS 164.225, one count of burglary in the second degree, ORS 164.215, and one count of theft in the third degree, ORS 164.043. On appeal, defendant raises two related assignments of error, arguing that the trial court erred when it refused to give his requested jury instructions on the choice-of-evils and duress defenses. Specifically, defendant argues that he presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could infer that he participated in the crimes because his codefendant's brother threatened serious and imminent harm to defendant's daughter and, thus, the trial court should have instructed the jury on those defenses. Held: The trial court erred in refusing to give defendant's requested jury instructions on the choice-of-evils and duress defenses. Defendant presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could infer the required elements of those defenses.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [289 Or.App. 409] JAMES, J.

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for one count of burglary in the first degree, ORS 164.225, one count of burglary in the second degree, ORS 164.215, and one count of theft in the third degree, ORS 164.043. On appeal, defendant raises two related assignments of error, arguing that the trial court erred when it refused to give his requested jury instructions on the choice-of-evils and duress defenses. Specifically, defendant argues that he presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could infer that he participated in the crimes because his codefendant's brother threatened serious harm to defendant's daughter and, thus, the trial court should have instructed the jury on the defenses. We conclude that defendant presented sufficient evidence in support of the requested instructions. Accordingly, we reverse and remand.

         We review a trial court's refusal to give a requested jury instruction for legal error and view the record in the light most favorable to the requesting party. State v. OneilL 256 Or.App. 537, 538, 303 P.3d 944, rev den, 354 Or. 342 (2013). "Whether the evidence [in the record] entitles a defendant to a jury instruction on a defense is governed by the statutory requirements for establishing the defense." State v. Boldt, 116 Or.App. 480, 483, 841 P.2d 1196 (1992). Therefore, "[i]f there is any evidence in the record from which the jury could infer the required elements of [the defense], the issue should be submitted to them." State v. Matthews, 30 Or.App. 1133, 1136, 569 P.2d 662 (1977). We state the facts in accordance with that standard.

         Defendant was dropping off his girlfriend at her mother's house near Stayton and Lyons late in the evening. After the girlfriend exited defendant's car, but before he pulled away from the mother's house, the girlfriend's mother and the girlfriend's uncle (the mother's brother) approached defendant's car. The mother (defendant's codefendant) approached the passenger side of defendant's car and the uncle leaned into defendant's driver side window. The uncle asked defendant to give the mother a ride and defendant agreed, as long as the stop was on his way home. The uncle replied, "No, you will give [the mother] a ride if you don't want [289 Or.App. 410] anything to happen to your daughter." Defendant's daughter lived with defendant at his home in Salem. Defendant's girlfriend had met his daughter and the mother knew where defendant lived.

         The mother got into defendant's car and they left. Eventually, the mother instructed defendant to pull over and park along a rural highway; she then got out of the car and told defendant to wait for her in the car. After about 20 minutes, the mother returned to the car and told defendant to get out and follow her to a residence located off of the rural highway. Defendant did what he was told, following her to the residence and then waiting outside while she went inside. Defendant stood outside for about an hour when the mother ran out of the residence, shoved some jewelry into defendant's hands, and said, "Let's go." Defendant and the mother ran in different directions. Defendant ran out of one of his shoes and hid behind a pile of cut trees on the property.

         Deputy Church was on patrol when he noticed defendant's car parked along the rural highway. Church was familiar with the property and knew that the resident was a woman in her nineties and who lived alone. Church decided to check on the resident. As he approached the residence, he noticed that the garage door had been forced open and that the doorjamb was broken. He also noticed shoe impressions in the frost that led away from the house. Church followed the shoe impressions and found a single athletic shoe. Soon after, defendant was ...


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