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Ouch! Another Lesson in Statutory Interpretation: Oregon Court of Appeals Pulls Out its Hair: State v. Lewis (2014)

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State v. Lewis (A152266, 2014) Multnomah County Circuit Court (111235241)

We conclude that the state failed to present sufficient evidence that the victim in this case suffered “physical injury,” as required by ORS 163.160(1)(a)….

As noted, ORS 163.160(1)(a) provides that, “[a] person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if the person * * * [i]ntentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another.” “Physical injury” is, in turn, defined, in turn, as “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.” ORS 161.015(7). Defendant contends that the state failed to present sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim suffered either “impairment of physical condition” or “substantial pain” from having her hair pulled out. We address each contention in turn….
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We agree with defendant that, under the circumstances of this case, the state has not presented sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim suffered an “impairment of physical condition” as a result of having hair pulled out of her head….” [Link to full case.]

Statutes discussed: ORS 7 163.160(1)(a) and ORS 161.015(7)