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State v. Payton

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 12, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
CHRISTOPHER LEE PAYTON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted April 30, 2018

          Jackson County Circuit Court 15CR28579; Lorenzo A. Mejia, Judge.

          Erica Herb, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Robert M. Wilsey, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Powers, Judge.[*]

         Conviction for first-degree burglary reversed and remanded for entry of judgment of conviction for first-degree criminal trespass and resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

         [298 Or.App. 23] Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of first-degree burglary, ORS 164.225, assigning error to the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal. In defendant's view, there was insufficient evidence from which a rational trier of fact could find, as necessary to his burglary conviction, that he unlawfully remained in his niece's house or that he did so with intent to commit an assault. More specifically to the latter point, defendant asserts that, under State v. J. N. S., 258 Or.App. 310, 308 P.3d 1112 (2013), because he did not form the intent to commit the assault at the initial point when he unlawfully remained in the house, there was insufficient evidence to support a first-degree burglary conviction. Held: Despite the sufficient evidence that defendant unlawfully remained in the house, there was nevertheless insufficient evidence that defendant formed the intent to commit the assault at the requisite time.

         [298 Or.App. 24] ORTEGA, P. J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of first-degree burglary, ORS 164.225, [1] assigning error to the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal. In defendant's view, there was insufficient evidence from which a rational trier of fact could find, as necessary to his burglary conviction, that he unlawfully remained in his niece's house or that he did so with intent to commit an assault. More specifically to the latter point, defendant asserts that, under State v. J. N. S., 258 Or.App. 310, 318-19, 308 P.3d 1112 (2013), because he did not form the intent to commit the assault at the initial point when he unlawfully remained in the house, there was insufficient evidence to support a first-degree burglary conviction. We conclude that, despite sufficient evidence that defendant unlawfully remained in the house, there was nevertheless insufficient evidence that defendant formed the intent to commit the assault at the requisite time. Accordingly, we reverse defendant's conviction for first-degree burglary and remand for entry of a judgment of conviction for the lesser-included offense of first-degree criminal trespass and for resentencing.

         We review the denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal to determine whether, viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences from it in the light most favorable to the state, "a rational trier of fact * * * could have found the essential element[s] of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Cunningham, 320 Or. 47, 63, 880 P.2d 431 (1994), cert den, 514 U.S. 1005 (1995).

         Defendant and his family were staying with his niece for a week. One evening, after defendant began yelling and threatening to kill his niece, she asked him to leave. Defendant refused and said that he would leave the next day. Someone called for a taxi and left defendant's packed bags by the front door, but the taxi left without defendant. Defendant's father-in-law, who lived across the street, became aware of the incident and decided to go to the niece's house-without notifying anyone-to find out "what was [298 Or.App. 25] going on." When he arrived, defendant emerged from a bedroom and punched his father-in-law in the face, and a fight ensued. The police arrived, and defendant was arrested. The state charged defendant with one count of first-degree burglary, two counts of fourth-degree assault, and one count of strangulation.

         After the state presented its case-in-chief, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on the first-degree burglary charge, arguing that "the state failed to put on sufficient evidence to meet the standard to have this matter go to the jury." Defendant went on to argue that, to be convicted of first-degree burglary, defendant had to have

"knowingly *** entered, or remained in [his house] with the intent to commit the crime of assault therein. *** [T]he evidence is clear that he was attempting to leave at the time that this occurred, and that it was not his intent to stay

(emphasis added). At that point, the court interrupted to say that the motion was denied, because there "was contradictory evidence to that, that he was told to leave and he said, 'I'm not leaving.'" Defense counsel attempted to ...


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