Oregon v. Eastep

Defendant Thomas Eastep arranged to sell another person’s truck for scrap. At the time, the truck was in a significant state of disrepair. He was charged with, and ultimately convicted of, unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUV). At trial, he argued that the state had failed to prove that he had used another person’s “vehicle,” because the truck that he had arranged to sell was in a state of significant disrepair and was not currently operable. The trial court disagreed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. On review, defendant argued that, at least as used in the statute defining the offense of UUV, a “vehicle” must be capable of operation, and there is no evidence that the truck was capable of operation. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed with the state that the word “vehicle,” as it was used in ORS 164.135(1)(a), included no requirement of either current operability or capability of operation with only ordinary repairs. A vehicle may remain a “vehicle” within the meaning of that statute even if it needs more significant, but still reasonable, repairs. In this case, however, the state failed to establish that the truck that defendant had arranged to sell was in such a condition that it would have been reasonable to restore it to an operable condition. The Court therefore reversed defendant’s conviction. View "Oregon v. Eastep" on Justia Law