State v. Jimenez

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-21-2014
  • Case #: A148796
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Wollheim, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An officer may not investigate matters unrelated to a stop absent reasonable suspicion of that unrelated matter, an unavoidable lull in the inquiry process, or some exception to the warrant requirement.

Jimenez committed a Class D traffic violation when he crossed a busy intersection during a “Don’t Walk” signal. Trooper Borchers (Borchers) observed this and noted that Jimenez was wearing clothes associated with gang affiliation. Borchers stopped Jimenez and asked why he crossed the street against the light, then asked if Jimenez was carrying a weapon. Jimenez answered that he had a gun in his pocket. Borchers handcuffed and frisked Jimenez, checked his ID, and arrested him after hearing there was a warrant for Jimenez’s arrest. Jimenez was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and moved to suppress. The trial court denied his motion, finding the officer-safety exception applied. On appeal, Jimenez argued the encounter qualified as a traffic stop because it was for a traffic code violation, and both he and Borchers knew that. Jimenez also argued Borchers had no reasonable suspicion of a crime involving weapons. The Court held Borchers violated Jimenez’s rights; absent reasonable suspicion, inquiry during an unavoidable lull, or an exception to the warrant requirement, the facts were not sufficient to justify Borcher’s actions. Reversed and remanded.

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