Oregon v. DickersonAnnotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of second-degree criminal mischief after aiding and abetting his son to shoot two state-owned deer decoys that they believed to be deer. Oregon’s criminal mischief statute prohibits persons from intentionally damaging “property of another.” The issue in this case was whether wild deer were “property of another” for purposes of that statute. Defendant appealed his criminal mischief conviction, arguing that the trial court had erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because wild deer do not become property until reduced to physical possession. The Court of Appeals affirmed defendant’s conviction. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed: because the state, as a trustee, holds a legal interest in wildlife, the Court concluded that the state has a “legal * * * interest” in wildlife, as that phrase is used in ORS 164.305(2). Therefore, wild deer are “property of another,” for purposes of ORS 164.354 (1)(b) and ORS 164.305(2), and that the trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the second-degree criminal mischief count.