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State v. Ydrogo

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 28, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DARRYL LYNN YDROGO, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted June 29, 2017

         Jackson County Circuit Court 15CR10510; Lorenzo A. Mejia, Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Andrew D. Robinson, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Christopher A. Perdue, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Garrett, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Edmonds, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894. Defendant challenges the trial court's admission of certain evidence over his OEC 403 objection, arguing that the record fails to demonstrate that the trial court engaged in the inquiry required by State v. Mayfield, 302 Or. 631, 645, 733 P.2d 438 (1987). In response, the state argues that defendant failed to preserve his contention and, alternatively, that the trial court's analysis comports with Mayfield and any error is harmless. Held: The trial court did not err. Defendant's argument was preserved for appeal; a request that a court balance the probative value of evidence against the danger of unfair prejudice preserves a contention that the trial court erred under Mayfield. However, the trial court's decision, in view of the totality of attendant circumstances, comports with the requirements of Mayfield because the record demonstrates that the trial court consciously conducted the balancing required under OEC 403 and also supplies an adequate basis for meaningful appellate review.

         Affirmed.

         [289 Or.App. 489] LAGESEN, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894.[1] In his first assignment of error, defendant challenges the trial court's admission of evidence-over defendant's OEC 403 objection-that defendant also possessed a syringe at the same time he possessed the methamphetamine. Defendant contends that the record fails to demonstrate that the trial court engaged in the inquiry required by State v. Mayfield, 302 Or. 631, 645, 733 P.2d 438 (1987), entitling him to a reversal of his conviction. In his second assignment of error, defendant contends that the trial court erroneously admitted certain chain-of-custody evidence. We reject defendant's second assignment of error without further written discussion and, for the reasons that follow, also reject the first. We therefore affirm.

         The facts pertinent to the issue on appeal are not disputed. Defendant was arrested in connection with an unrelated matter. The arresting officer, Corporal Whiteman of the Medford Police Department, asked defendant whether he had anything illegal on him that he did not want to bring to jail. Defendant told the officer that he had found a cigarette pack with a baggie inside it in the parking lot, and that he did not know what was in the baggie. The officer then asked defendant for consent to search his person and also to remove the cigarette pack that defendant had mentioned; defendant agreed that Whiteman could do so. The baggie in the cigarette pack contained a white crystalline substance that Whiteman suspected was methamphetamine. Whiteman then asked if defendant had any syringes on him. Defendant denied having any syringes on him, but Whiteman found a syringe and another baggie containing cotton in defendant's shirt pocket. Subsequent laboratory tests revealed that the substance in the baggie was methamphetamine, as Whiteman had suspected. Thereafter, [289 Or.App. 490] defendant was charged with one count of "unlawfully and knowingly" possessing methamphetamine, in violation of ORS 475.894.

         Before trial, defendant moved to exclude evidence that he had also possessed the syringe. Defendant asserted that the syringe "wasn't tested" and that defendant "could have a legitimate medical reason for having it, " and that evidence of the syringe would be "more prejudicial * * * than probative." The trial court denied the motion, explaining that "it is more probative *** than prejudicial." Later, at trial, defendant renewed his objection to the admission of evidence of the syringe when the state introduced a photograph of it as an exhibit. Defendant acknowledged the court's previous ruling, but stated that he was objecting for the record. Consistent with its previous ruling, the trial court overruled the objection. In closing, the state argued that the evidence that defendant possessed a syringe and cotton supported the inference that he knowingly possessed the methamphetamine found in the cigarette pack, pointing also to testimony from Whiteman explaining that syringes and cotton are used in conjunction with methamphetamine. The jury convicted defendant and defendant appealed.

         On appeal, as noted, defendant assigns error to the trial court's admission of the evidence of the syringe over his OEC 403 objection. Defendant does not dispute that the evidence was relevant under OEC 401. As we understand his position, defendant also does not argue that it necessarily was an abuse of discretion for the trial court to conclude under OEC 403 that the probative value of the evidence was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Instead, defendant argues that the trial court committed a procedural error "by admitting evidence that defendant had a syringe in his pocket without properly applying OEC 403" in the manner dictated by Mayfield. Specifically, defendant contends that

"[n]othing in the record indicates that the court considered the matters prescribed by Mayfield before admitting the syringe evidence. The court stated that the evidence was more probative than prejudicial, but that conclusory statement does not show that the court actually 'analyze[d] [289 Or.App. 491] the quantum of probative value of the evidence' or 'determine[d] how prejudicial the evidence [was.]'"

         Defendant further asserts that the "court's cursory gesture at the balancing process occurred before trial, when it would have been impossible to make a genuine evaluation of the evidence's probative value." Defendant argues that the state never told the trial court why it wanted to use the syringe, or presented evidence, before the trial court ruled or during trial, that the syringe could have been used to inject methamphetamine, which might have been probative of mens rea. That, in defendant's view, rendered the trial court's Mayfield analysis insufficient. In response, the state argues that defendant failed to preserve his contention that the trial court's analysis failed to comply with Mayfield because defendant never told the trial court explicitly that its analysis did not comport with Mayfield, or otherwise ...


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