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State v. Davis
Oregon Supreme Court
351 Or. 35 (2011)
Terry Davis (defendant) was charged with murdering his young daughter by shaking her. Davis claimed that he had not hurt his daughter on the night she died and that the injuries that killed her had occurred several days earlier. In support, Davis called a family friend, Payne, to testify that she had seen the victim four days before her death. Payne had a daughter who had suffered a brain injury as a baby and was ready to testify that, four days before Davis’s child died, the victim’s appearance reminded Payne of how her own daughter looked at that age when she was suffering from brain swelling or dehydration. The trial court allowed Payne to testify about her observations of the victim’s physical condition during her visit. However, the court prevented Payne from testifying about how the victim’s appearance reminded her of another child with brain swelling or dehydration, finding that testimony to be inadmissible conjecture. Davis was convicted and appealed. On appeal, Davis argued that Payne’s testimony about the victim’s appearance was an appropriate lay-witness opinion that should have been admitted.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Walters, J.)
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