Today’s OSC press release: 2 of 3
I had previously posted about Chief Justice DeMuniz’s reminder that — even though the difference between manslaughter (reckless) and criminally negligent homicide (negligence) might be a fine one — judges still need to do their jobs and grant MJOA’s when appropriate.
This next case doesn’t exactly address that issue, but it comes close and it’s potentially quite significant.
State of Oregon v. Devin S. Lewis (S059739) (A144772) (appeal from Yamhill County
Circuit Court; affirmed without opinion at 244 Or App 693, 258 P3d 538 (2011)).
Defendant Devin S. Lewis has been granted review of a Court of Appeals
decision that affirmed without opinion his conviction for criminally negligent homicide.
On review, the issues are:
(1) What is the legal standard for trial court review of the sufficiency of
circumstantial evidence to convict an allegedly inattentive driver for criminally negligent
(2) In such a case, may a trier of fact conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt,
that a driver was criminally negligent, where the evidence was that the driver was briefly
inattentive in circumstances that may have warranted heightened caution?
(3) In a prosecution for criminally negligent homicide stemming from a fatal
traffic accident, is evidence that a witness observed a defendant’s marginally erratic driving
eight miles before the collision admissible, in the absence of evidence that any of the
conduct continued or was a factor in the collision?