Oregon v. BaughmanAnnotate this Case
The Oregon Supreme Court explained that, in a criminal action, when the state proffers evidence of uncharged acts, either to prove a defendant’s propensity to commit charged crimes under OEC 404(4), or for a nonpropensity purpose under OEC 404(3), and a defendant objects to the admission of that evidence, the trial court must conduct balancing under OEC 403, according to its terms, to determine whether the probative value of the challenged evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Defendant was charged with 12 counts of child sexual abuse. Before trial, the state filed a motion to permit it to introduce evidence that defendant also had sexually abused a different child. The state argued that that evidence was relevant for a number of nonpropensity purposes under OEC 404(3). Defendant countered that, because his defense was not mistaken identity or lack of intent, but, instead, that the charged acts of abuse had not occurred, the proffered evidence was not relevant for a nonpropensity purpose. Further, defendant argued, even if the evidence was minimally relevant, its probative value was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and it was therefore inadmissible under OEC 403. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals, reversed the trial court’s judgment of conviction, and remanded this case to the trial court for further proceedings.