Oregon v. SimonovAnnotate this Case
Defendant Alen Simonov and his brother, Vadim, talked to their neighbor about purchasing a 1983 Datsun pickup truck. The neighbor testified that she agreed to allow the brothers to take the truck to a car wash to check for an oil leak. The neighbor watched the brothers drive away. Because the brothers failed to return the truck when she expected them to, the neighbor reported the truck stolen. Defendant later left a voicemail message stating, “I’m in Portland. We’re bringing the truck back.” The neighbor saw Vadim pull the truck into her driveway several hours later, with defendant in the passenger seat. Defendant appealed his conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV), a felony offense committed when a person “takes, operates, exercises control over, rides in or otherwise uses another’s vehicle * * * without consent of the owner.” At trial, defendant requested an instruction that, to reach a guilty verdict, the jury must find that he knew that the use of the vehicle was without the owner’s consent; instead, the trial court instructed the jury that it could convict defendant if it found that he was criminally negligent with regard to whether the owner had consented. The Court of Appeals reversed defendant’s conviction on the ground that the charged offense required that the person riding in the vehicle knew that the vehicle was being used without the owner’s consent, the trial court therefore improperly instructed the jury, and the error was reversible. After review of this case, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, reversed the judgment convicting defendant, and remanded the case back to the circuit court for further proceedings.