State v. Hale

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2012
  • Case #: A139382
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Determining whether a magistrate is neutral and detached requires that the magistrate: (1) be uninvolved in law enforcement, and (2) not have an interest in the case that would corrupt an average judge under similar circumstances.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress. Defendant was convicted of murder for a gang related shooting that occurred in 2002. There were no suspects and the case was cold until 2006 when an accomplice agreed to help solve the crime. Police obtained two orders for body-wires, and intercepted incriminating communications between the accomplice and Defendant. The second order was signed by a judge who was the district attorney assigned to investigate the same shooting crime in 2002. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained under the second order for a body-wire because the order was not signed by a neutral and detached magistrate. The Court of Appeals held that the judge was neutral and detached because at the time he signed the order he was not affiliated with law enforcement, he independently reviewed the order, and he did not recognize the names of either the accomplice or the Defendant because there were no named suspects when he was the district attorney. Therefore, the Court found the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because the body-wire order was valid. Affirmed.

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