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Court of Appeals reversal: State v. Marquez-Vela

In Oregon it is improper for 1 witness to offer an opinion on whether another witness is telling the truth."We have said before, and we will say it again, but this time with emphasis--we really mean it.... The assessment of credibility is for the trier of fact[.]" State v.Milbradt.

Today the Court of Appeals reinforced that rule with its opinion in State v. Marquez-Vela, which reverses a conviction for murder. The COA found that failure to exclude a police officer's opinion testimony that "defendant, during the interrogation, "was dishonest[,]" "was untruthful[,]" "was lying about the whole situation[,]" and "was selectively leaving out details that he thought [were] harmful to him"--may have "colored the jury's consideration of that issue." And, "Thus, the erroneous admission of evidence in this case relates to a central factual issue that was the lynchpin of the defense--whether defendant had "blanked out" and was too intoxicated to form the intent to commit murder. The jury's determination of that issue hinged on defendant's credibility, and we conclude that the trial court's error was not harmless."

Congrats to appellate lawyer Robin Jones and trial lawyer John Kolega!

Full slip opinion here:

Posted At 10:01 AM

Labels: Appeals Reversal Witness