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State v. Burney

Oregon Court of Appeals
619 P.2d 1336 (1980)


Facts

Prior to his move to Portland, Oregon, Burney’s (defendant) friend left a pistol underneath the seat of his pickup truck. However, Burney, a convicted felon, did not realize it was there. Once in Portland, Burney was returning from a birthday party when his truck would not start. Burney thought the truck would start if he let it sit for a while. During that time, Burney went to a nearby club, had a glass of wine, and played a few games of pool for money. As he left the club, Burney saw a man he had won money from playing pool coming after him with a broken-down cue stick. Once he reached the truck, Burney reached under the seat to grab a tire iron, but felt the pistol instead. Burney pointed the pistol at Griffin’s legs and told him to get away. Griffin left, but Burney could not start the truck. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived, found the pistol, and arrested Burney for being an ex-convict in possession of a firearm in violation of ORS 166.270. At trial, Burney attempted to raise the “choice of evils” defense, but was rejected by the trial court. The trial judge found Burney guilty and he appealed. 

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gillette, J.)

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