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Oregon Appeals Court Opinion Includes Cartoon Doodle that Helped Convict Holdup Suspect

Posted Mar 6, 2012 11:25 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man whose cartoon doodle of a holdup was used as evidence against him.

The appeals court opinion (PDF) included the picture, found on a school paper in the backpack of burglary and robbery defendant Ariel Jasso. Police responding to the holdup report had found the cartoon after they curbed the car in which Jasso had been riding, the Oregonian reports.

The cartoon was a key piece of evidence in Jasso’s 2009 trial for the robbery of a marijuana dealer, the story says. It shows a gunman demanding jewelry from a frightened looking woman with her hands in the air.

Jasso’s lawyers had argued he was present at the robbery but he didn’t participate; the judge found the evidence indicated possibly greater involvement. On appeal, lawyers for Jasso argued the trial judge had committed a constitutional error by failing to conduct a balancing test weighing the probative value of the evidence against its prejudice.

The appeals court said defense had not preserved the constitutional argument and affirmed the conviction.

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