Oregon v. AndersonAnnotate this Case
Three people - Debra, Michelle, and Charles - shared a house in Lincoln City. Defendant Adam Anderson needed a place to stay, and Debra and Michelle agreed that defendant could “crash” at their house for a couple of days. The weekend after defendant began staying at their house, Debra tried to withdraw money from her bank account at an ATM but was unable to do so. On Monday morning, Debra checked with the bank and learned that someone had withdrawn $300 from her account at a Wells Fargo ATM and that the personal identification number (PIN) for her account had been changed. She also learned that, six or seven minutes after $300 had been withdrawn from the Wells Fargo ATM, someone had attempted to withdraw additional funds from her account at a nearby Bank of America ATM. After learning that information, Debra went home and found that her emergency ATM card, with her PIN attached, had been taken from the dresser drawer in her bedroom. She also realized that defendant had moved out of her house on Sunday rather than later, as he initially had planned. Debra notified the police, who obtained a surveillance video from the Bank of America ATM. The police showed Debra and Michelle stills taken from the video, which depicted a person attempting to use Debra’s ATM card at the Bank of America ATM and also walking away from the ATM. The stills either do not show the person’s face or do not do so clearly. Despite that fact, both Debra and Michelle identified the person in the stills as defendant, based on the clothing that the person was wearing and the person’s general physical resemblance (height and build) to defendant. To support its claim that it was defendant depicted from images taken at the ATMs, the prosecution offered a booking video taken approximately two weeks after the ATM images. Defendant objected to admission of the video. The Court of Appeal reversed, noting that while the trial court found the video relevant, it did not expressly identify its probative value, or expressly balance the probative value against its prejudicial effect. The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed after review of the trial court record, and was satisfied that pursuant to the applicable case law, the trial court’s use of the word “relevant” served as a shorthand way of describing the trial court’s agreement with the state that the video was very relevant to prove a central issue in the case, and the trial court's statements regarding the video were sufficient to show the court balanced the probative value of the booking video against the danger of unfair prejudice.