ORS 132.540
Sufficiency of indictment

  • previous convictions
  • use of statutory language
  • when name of victim not required


The indictment is sufficient if it can be understood therefrom that:


The defendant is named, or if the name of the defendant cannot be discovered, that the defendant is described by a fictitious name, with the statement that the real name of the defendant is to the jury unknown.


The crime was committed within the jurisdiction of the court, except where, as provided by law, the act, though done without the county in which the court is held, is triable therein.


The crime was committed at some time prior to the finding of the indictment and within the time limited by law for the commencement of an action therefor.


Except as provided in ORS 136.765 (Notice to defendant) (1) and subsection (3) of this section, the indictment may not contain allegations that the defendant has previously been convicted of the violation of any statute that may subject the defendant to enhanced penalties.


The indictment must allege that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense when the previous conviction constitutes a material element of the charged offense.


Words used in a statute to define a crime need not be strictly pursued in the indictment, but other words conveying the same meaning may be used.


Intentionally left blank —Ed.


An indictment may include a pseudonym, initials or another signifier instead of the name of a victim if:


At least one of the crimes alleged to have been committed against the victim in the indictment is a sex crime as defined in ORS 163A.005 (Definitions for ORS 163A.005 to 163A.235);


A separate document containing the name of the victim and the corresponding pseudonym, initials or other signifier is filed with the clerk of the court at the same time as the indictment is filed; and


A copy of the document described in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph is provided to the defense attorney or, if the defendant does not have a lawyer, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this subsection, at the time of arraignment on the indictment.


The defense attorney may orally inform the defendant of the name of the victim contained in the document described in paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection but may not provide a copy of the document to the defendant.


If a defendant is not represented by a lawyer, the district attorney shall provide a copy of the document described in paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection to the defendant. At the time of providing the document, the court shall enter an order prohibiting the defendant from copying the document or providing the document to any other person.


The document described in paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection is confidential with respect to any person who is not a party to the case. At any time during the proceeding the court may, upon a finding of good cause, order that the document is not confidential. Once the final judgment on the case is entered, the document is no longer confidential. [Amended by 1957 c.657 §1; 1973 c.836 §57; 2009 c.180 §1; 2019 c.338 §1]

Source: Section 132.540 — Sufficiency of indictment; previous convictions; use of statutory language; when name of victim not required, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors132.­html.

Notes of Decisions

Indictment was not void where it could reasonably be determined from its face that the finding of the indictment occurred between the date of the crime alleged and the date of filing. State v. Perry, 12 Or App 585, 507 P2d 58 (1973), Sup Ct review denied

An indictment in the language of the statute creating the offense is sufficient if it alleges all the elements of the crime that must be proven for conviction, but in situations where statutory language is not precise it must be supplemented so as to leave no doubt as to the exact nature charged. State v. Cannon, 17 Or App 379, 521 P2d 1326 (1974), Sup Ct review denied

Where indictment dated November 7, 1977, alleged criminal conduct committed “through” November 1974, portion of November, 1974, after November 7 was a period within statute of limitations and therefore indictment was timely. State v. Scott, 48 Or App 623, 617 P2d 681 (1980)

Without allegation of facts indicating tolling of period of limitation, it cannot be understood from face of indictment that crime was committed within statute of limitations and it was, therefore, error to deny demurrer. State v. Livingston, 73 Or App 551, 699 P2d 1131 (1985)

Indictment containing two dates on which purportedly returned, one inside and one outside Statute of Limitations, does not satisfy statutory requirement that indictment show prosecution was commenced within period of limitation. State v. Bovee, 76 Or App 572, 710 P2d 786 (1985), Sup Ct review denied

Where proof of previous conviction determines whether offense is felony or misdemeanor, existence of previous conviction constitutes material element of crime charged. State v. Reynolds, 183 Or App 245, 51 P3d 684 (2002), Sup Ct review denied

Selection of grand juries
Challenge of juror prohibited
Oath or affirmation of jurors
Charge of court
Presence of persons at sittings or deliberations of jury
Oath to witness before grand jury
When juror discharged
Jury service term
Immunity of jurors as to official conduct
Disclosure by juror of testimony of witness examined by jury
District attorney to ensure proceedings are recorded
Recording of testimony required
Release and use of recording, transcript, notes or report
Inquiry into crimes
Consideration of evidence
Submission of indictment by district attorney
Duties of district attorney for jury
Juror’s knowledge of an offense
Number of jurors required to concur
Presentment of facts to court for instruction as to law
Whom the grand jury may indict
When the grand jury may indict
Indorsement of indictment as “a true bill.”
Finding of indictment
Disclosure relative to indictment not subject to inspection
Finding against indictment
Inquiry into conditions in correctional and youth correction facilities
Forms of pleadings
Sufficiency of indictment
Contents of indictment
Indictment must contain subcategory facts under certain circumstances
Joinder of counts and charges
Names of grand jury witnesses required on indictment
Pleading domestic violence in accusatory instrument
Premature inspection or disclosure of contents of indictment
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