State v. Lange

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2014
  • Case #: A148987
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J.; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When an officer ordered defendant out of a restroom, that constituted a stop because a reasonable person in defendant's position would have believed that his freedom of movement was intentionally restricted.

Defendant, a customer at an internet cafe, aroused the suspicion when he remained in a restroom for a long time, making noises and banging sounds. The owner became concerned for defendant's welfare and called 911. An officer arrived and ordered defendant out of the restroom. When the officer asked defendant why he was in the restroom so long, defendant stated he was ill. The officer suspected defendant had been using drugs in the restroom, which defendant denied. The officer conducted a pat-down and asked defendant if he could search his pockets. Defendant said no, but the officer put defendant in handcuffs on suspicion defendant might have hypodermic needles. Upon search of the restroom, the officer found a bindle used to transport heroine as well as heroine on defendant's person. The officer arrested defendant and charged him with unlawful possession. Defendant moved to suppress and was denied. On appeal, the Court held that defendant was stopped when the officer ordered him to leave the restroom because the officer placed a temporary restraint on defendant's liberty such that a reasonable person in defendant's position would have believed that his freedom of movement was intentionally restricted. The Court held that the stop was not "mere conversation" in "ordinary social intercourse” due to the officer's show of authority, and did not fall under the community-caretaking statute or the emergency-aid doctrine. Reversed and remanded.

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