State v. Acuna

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2014
  • Case #: A151812
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J., vice Edmonds, S. J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A stop is legal if the officer, under the circumstances, has reason to believe suspect has engaged in unlawful activity; all circumstances are considered to determine whether the encounter with police has risen to the level of "compelling" and thus required the reading of Miranda rights.

Defendant appealed trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Defendant was convicted of one count of unlawful delivery of marijuana for consideration. Police responded to a group of individuals smoking marijuana. Defendant was subjected to a patdown search. Defendant handed officer a marijuana pipe from his pocket. Defendant then was patted down and a small baggie of marijuana was discovered. Officers then smelled marijuana from a backpack in a truck. Defendant admitted it was his backpack. Officers asked for consent to search. Defendant consented. Police found a large jar of marijuana, more than for personal use, baggies, and a digital scale. Defendant was transported to jail. An officer logged Defendant's cell phone into evidence and examined some messages on the phone. He subsequently applied for a search warrant to view messages on the phone, but did not use any of the previously viewed messages in his search warrant application. Defendant was legally stopped. Under the circumstances, including an informant's report and the officer's personal observations to corroborate the report, the officer formed a reasonable suspicion that Defendant was engaged in unlawful activity. The circumstances prior to Defendant's arrest were not "compelling" requiring the reading of Miranda rights. The Court considered "all circumstances" to determine whether the officers created a "police-dominated atmosphere." Because the encounter took place on a public sidewalk, the sirens and lights on the police car were not activated, force was never used or threatened, and the officer never demanded Defendant to do anything, Miranda rights were not required before Defendant's arrest. Affirmed.

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