State v. Newcomb

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-16-2014
  • Case #: A149495
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution governing privacy rights with respect to personal effects, extraction and testing of a dog's blood is a "search" because those actions constitute a physical invasion of a defendant's personal property which reveal otherwise concealed evidence.

Defendant appealed her conviction for second-degree animal neglect. The Oregon Humane Society received reports of a dog being neglected. An animal cruelty investigation officer went to the Defendant’s apartment and concluded that the dog appeared neglected and possibly needed medical care. The dog was taken to the Humane Society where a veterinarian took blood and feces samples, which revealed that the dog’s near-emaciated condition resulted from neglect, specifically a lack of feeding. Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence based on the warrantless search and seizure of the dog and the blood samples. The trial court suppressed the motion and the defendant was found guilty. The Defendant appealed and argued that the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress evidence. With regard to the warrantless seizure of the dog, the Court concluded that dog was lawfully seized under the “plain view” exception. As for the blood test results, the Court concluded that the testing and extraction of the dog’s blood physically invaded the Defendant’s privacy, which exposed evidence that would have otherwise been concealed. The extraction and testing of the dog’s blood was a warrantless search and the blood testing results should have been suppressed. Reversed and Remanded.

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