State v. Sines

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-04-2014
  • Case #: A146025
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, J., for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Brewer, J. pro tem.
  • Full Text Opinion

When the state is sufficiently involved in a search or seizure conducted by a private party, state constitutional protection is triggered.

Defendant appealed his conviction on four counts of first degree sexual abuse of his daughter, contending that the seizure of his daughter's underwear from his home by his housekeeper, which was then delivered to police, constituted a state action and was therefore an infringement on his state constitutional rights. Defendant argued that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress the evidence obtained by the initial seizure of the underwear, and the subsequent clothing taken from the house by warrant. Defendant contended that the warrant was obtained as a direct result of the initial seizure of the underwear thereby invalidating the subsequent seizure of clothing used as evidence. The Court agreed with Defendant, stating that while a search done by a private party is not protected under the Oregon Constitution as it is not a state act, it can constitute a state act if the state is sufficiently involved. While there is no solid rule as to what is sufficient involvement, the Court concluded that, in this case, the investigator purposely delaying an in-home check to give the employee enough time to gather the underwear, which he highly suspected she would do, constituted sufficient state involvement. Convictions on Counts 1 through 4 reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.

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