Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Capwell case brief

State v. Capwell case brief summary
627 P.2d 905 (1981)

Defendant sought reversal of his conviction in the Circuit Court, Marion County (Oregon), for fourth-degree assault, contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion for acquittal on the basis of insufficient evidence.

The charges against defendant stemmed from an incident with an off-duty police officer. The officer's wife noticed defendant in front of their house with a gas can. The officer went outside with his nightstick to investigate and apparently startled defendant. A scuffle ensued, defendant swinging the gas can and hitting the officer in the arm. The officer told defendant that he was under arrest. The defendant attempted to leave. The officer hit him around the knee with his nightstick. The defendant reacted by swinging the gas can and kicking out. There was no indication of bruising or any other injury to the officer.


  • The court reversed defendant's assault conviction, finding there was insufficient evidence for a jury to find guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the statutory requirements. 
  • The state was required to prove that defendant's blows caused either physical impairment or substantial pain. 
  • The case was remanded for entry of a judgment for attempted fourth-degree assault, as the trier of fact had found that defendant had taken a substantial step toward commission of the assault offense. 
  • The attempt judgment was appropriate.

The judgment of conviction on fourth-degree assault was reversed and the cause was remanded for entry of a new judgment and for resentencing.

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