State v. Moore

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2014
  • Case #: A150137
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; and De Muniz, S.J.

Under the Article I, § 9 of the Oregon Constitution, an officer has a reasonable suspicion if he subjectively believes that the person has committed a crime; that belief, however, must be objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the circumstances.

Defendant in this case was stopped by an officer after a citizen made a phone call stating Defendant was acting suspiciously. The officer came to the home and saw the vehicle pulled over on the side of the road. He proceeded to question Defendant and performed a weapons search, which revealed Defendant was in possession of drugs. At trial, Defendant moved to suppress the evidence stating that the officer's inquiry was not based on reasonable suspicion. The Court held that to have reasonable suspicion the officer must (1) have a subjective belief the person committed a crime and (2) that belief must be objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the circumstances. Here the state contends the officer believed Defendant may have been trespassing. Neither party disputes that the officer had a subjective belief, but Defendant here argues the officer's belief was not objectively reasonable. The officer claims his belief was that Defendant was trespassing. However, the caller only reported suspicious activity, not trespassing activity and when the officer approached, the car Defendant was with was on the shoulder of the highway. There was no indicia that Defendant had crossed onto private property nor is it common for shoulders and roadsides to have such proscriptions. The very purpose to the roadways having shoulders is for people to pull off. Furthermore, a report of suspicious activity does not provide reasonable suspicion, but instead alerts law enforcement to the situation. The officer's subjective belief was not objectively reasonable. Any evidence obtained as a result of the stop was illegally seized and the lower court should have suppressed the evidence. Reversed and remanded.

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