State v. Ross

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-22-2013
  • Case #: A148172
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

For a passenger to be seized during a traffic stop, the officer must use physical force or a show of authority directed at the defendant, specifically.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s conviction for unlawful delivery of methamphetamine and delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Defendant argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence because he was unlawfully seized during a traffic stop. Defendant contended that the seizure was unlawful when the search of the truck was improperly extended. Defendant was a passenger in a truck that was pulled over because its front registration plate was obstructed. The officer ran the driver’s information and received the driver’s consent to search the pickup truck. Defendant was asked to step out of the vehicle. At this time, Defendant was told that he was free to leave, but Defendant wanted to retrieve his coat from the truck. Defendant insisted that the officers let him retrieve the coat on his own, but the officer got it for him, and discovered marijuana and methamphetamine in the coat pocket. The Court of Appeals disagrees with Defendant’s argument that he was unlawfully seized by his status as a passenger. The analysis for a passenger is a separate question from that of the driver. The test for whether a passenger was seized requires more than the car being stopped; the passenger is seized if the officer uses physical force or a show of authority in restraining that individual’s liberty. Defendant was not seized here. Affirmed.

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