State v. Canfield

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-21-2012
  • Case #: A143570
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Consent to search, given before a suspect was told he was free to leave by the officer who stopped him, is an illegal search unless there is a warrant or reasonable suspicion.

Defendant appealed an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals affirming a guilty verdict because of a misunderstanding of the facts by the court. A police officer watched Defendant walk down the street and get in the passenger side of a parked vehicle. The officer then saw the vehicle drive across the parking lot, park, and Defendant exit the vehicle. The officer approached Defendant and the driver and asked to speak with them. The officer mentioned suspicious behavior and asked for identification. The officer asked if they were in possession of weapons or drugs. The Defendant told him he had a pipe, which the officer suspected was a marijuana pipe. The officer asked if he could search them, which they consented to, before he told them they were not under arrest and free to leave at any time. In the Court’s previous opinion, the Court held that consenting to a search after the Defendant was told he was free to leave was a legal search. However, that was a mistaken understanding of the facts. Since the consent to search was given before Defendant was told he was free to leave by the officer, it was an illegal search without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Reversed and remanded.

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