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State v. Mohammed

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 18, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ALI JASIM MOHAMMED, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted June 20, 2019

          Washington County Circuit Court 17CN05826; Ramon A. Pagan, Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Sarah Laidlaw, Deputy Public Defender, Office of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Julia Glick, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of contempt, ORS 33.015(2) (b). Defendant was found in contempt for violating a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order, ORS 107.718, that had prohibited defendant from having contact with G. Defendant argues that the trial court erred by finding that he "willfully" violated the restraining order, as required for a finding of contempt under ORS 33.015(2)(b), because he believed that the order had been dismissed. Held: A rational trier of fact, drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the state, could have found all of the elements of contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court's findings were supported by evidence in the record, and the record supported a reasonable inference that defendant did not have a contemporaneous, good faith belief that the FAPA order had been dismissed. Thus, the trial court did not err when it found that defendant willfully violated the restraining order and found defendant in contempt.

          [301 Or. App.App.368] TOOKEY, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of contempt, ORS 33.015(2Xb).[1] Defendant was found in contempt for violating a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order, ORS 107.718, that had prohibited defendant from having contact with G, the mother of his child. Defendant argues that the trial court erred by finding that he "willfully" violated the restraining order, as required for a finding of contempt under ORS 33.015(2)(b), because he believed that the order had been dismissed. Our review of the record leads us to conclude that the record contains sufficient evidence from which the trial court could have found that defendant knew that the order had not been dismissed, and, thus, the violation of the order was "done willfully." ORS 33.015(2). Accordingly, we affirm.

         We "review the denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal on punitive contempt to determine whether the record contains evidence from which a rational trier of fact, drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the state, could find all elements of contempt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Graham, 251 Or.App. 217, 218, 284 P.3d 515 (2012).[2] In accordance with our standard of review, "[w]e recite the material facts in the light most favorable to the state, consistently with the trial court's express findings." State v. Nicholson, 282 Or.App. 51, 52, 383 P.3d 977 (2016).

         In March 2017, G, the mother of defendant's child, obtained a FAPA restraining order against defendant that prohibited him from having contact with G. In July 2017, [301 Or. App.369] G began having financial difficulties and could not afford rent or food. The only way defendant would agree to help G economically was if G would allow defendant to move back in with G and their daughter, even though the FAPA order was still in place. Defendant began living with G in July. According to G, defendant knew that the restraining order had not been dismissed, because G and defendant "always talk about this restraining order," and G had never told defendant that the order had been dismissed.

         On November 15, 2017, G called the police after an argument with defendant and told defendant that he needed to leave the home because of the restraining order. Deputy Evans responded to G's call. G informed Evans that defendant was violating the FAPA order because defendant "was at her house and refused to leave." Defendant stated to Evans that G had told him that the restraining order had been dismissed. Evans explained that a valid FAPA order was still in place, and Evans arrested defendant for violating that order.

         At trial, G testified that defendant knew that the FAPA order was in place, because the order was a frequent topic of discussion and that G never had told defendant that the order had been dismissed.

         For his part, defendant testified that he believed the FAPA order had been dismissed, because a previous charge for harassing G had been dismissed, and because G had led defendant to believe the order had been dismissed. Defendant acknowledged, however, that nobody from the court system had ever told defendant that he could resume contact with G after the harassment charge had been dismissed, or that the order had been dismissed along with the harassment charge. Defendant also acknowledged that, when G called the police, G told defendant, "I'm not going to remove the restraining order off of you," and that defendant needed to leave because "the police are coming."

         The state argued that, if the court found G to be a credible witness, it should find that defendant willfully violated the FAPA order. Defendant argued that the evidence was legally insufficient to find that he had willfully violated the order, because G was not a credible witness, and [301 ...


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