Criminal Trials

ORS 136.440
Testimony of accomplice

  • corroboration
  • “accomplice” defined


A conviction cannot be had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless it is corroborated by other evidence that tends to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense. The corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows the commission of the offense or the circumstances of the commission.


As used in this section, an “accomplice” means a witness in a criminal action who, according to the evidence adduced in the action, is criminally liable for the conduct of the defendant under ORS 161.155 (Criminal liability for conduct of another) and 161.165 (Exemptions to criminal liability for conduct of another), or, if the witness is a juvenile, has committed a delinquent act, which, if committed by an adult, would make the adult criminally liable for the conduct of the defendant. [Formerly 136.550]

See also annotations under ORS 136.550 in permanent edition.

Notes of Decisions

This section does not make evidence of apparently innocent post-crime association inadmissible but merely requires additional corroboration. State v. Marling, 19 Or App 811, 529 P2d 957 (1974), Sup Ct review denied

Testimony in murder trial by witnesses other than accomplice, that they had cooperated with defendant in formulating plans to dispose of victim but had disassociated themselves from attempts to carry out those plans, was sufficient corroboration of accomplice’s testimony. State v. Addicks, 30 Or App 249, 566 P2d 1212 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Slingshot found on defendant’s property and BBs found in defendant’s motel room were sufficient items to connect defendant with commission of offense under this section and to provide corroboration of accomplice testimony. State v. Schoen, 34 Or App 105, 578 P2d 429 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

In trial for conspiracy to murder, evidence that, inter alia, defendant had vouched for hired killer and that hired killer met with coconspirator and received payment, was sufficient to corroborate accomplice testimony. State v. Curran, 38 Or App 351, 590 P2d 268 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

Where dispute whether witness is accomplice witness exists in jury trial, burden is on defendant to show jury probable cause to believe witness is accomplice. State v. Hull, 286 Or 511, 595 P2d 1240 (1979)

Accomplice witness is “criminally liable” for conduct of defendant if probable cause exists to charge witness with crime. State v. Hull, 286 Or 511, 595 P2d 1240 (1979)

Evidence that, inter alia, parts of stolen vehicle were found on defendant’s property, vehicle’s camper was burned on his property, and photograph of defendant showed him standing, with welding equipment, next to stolen vehicle, which was subsequently altered from its original form, was sufficient to corroborate testimony of two accomplices. State v. Rose, 45 Or App 879, 609 P2d 875 (1980)

For jury to determine whether witness is accomplice, court must instruct jury on factual elements that would suffice to create liability, then jury must determine whether evidence would provide probable cause to charge witness. State v. Shaw, 68 Or App 693, 684 P2d 7 (1984)

Mere presence at scene, even with knowledge of commission of crime, is not enough to make one accomplice under this section. State v. Crawford, 90 Or App 242, 752 P2d 316 (1988), Sup Ct review denied

State did not need to produce evidence to corroborate testimony of witness where witness was not accomplice to crimes committed before witness became involved and where witness was not accomplice to conspiracy because witness was not liable for defendant’s conduct where defendant had entered into conspiracy with another person before witness became involved. State v. McDonnell, 98 Or App 134, 778 P2d 978 (1989), Sup Ct review denied

Considering that corroborative evidence need only tend to connect defendant with crime, may be circumstantial and need not be with respect to every material fact necessary to sustain conviction, extensive evidence in record was sufficient to permit jury to find that accomplice’s testimony was corroborated. State v. Walton, 311 Or 223, 809 P2d 81 (1991)

Where accomplice-witness-as-matter-of-law instruction benefits defendant, instruction does not amount to directed verdict that defendant is guilty. State v. Oatney, 335 Or 276, 66 P3d 475 (2003)

Where no dispute exists that crime was committed, accomplice-witness-as-matter-of-law instruction does not deprive defendant of right to jury trial on each element alleged in indictment. State v. Oatney, 335 Or 276, 66 P3d 475 (2003)

Testimony of accomplice was insufficient to convict defendant where supporting evidence did not connect defendant to commission of crime without reference to accomplice testimony. State v. Riley, 365 Or 44, 443 P3d 610 (2019)

COMPLETED CITATIONS: State v. Graf, 6 Or App 243, 487 P2d 92 (1971), Sup Ct review denied; State v. Banks, 6 Or App 47, 486 P2d 584 (1971); State v. Wheelhouse, 6 Or App 151, 486 P2d 1292 (1971)


Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023