State v. Michel

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 07-16-2014
  • Case #: A151202
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, a renter does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy within the common area of a public storage facility.

The State appealed a motion to suppress evidence. Defendant was charged with DUII after driving into a public storage facility and being stopped by a police officer in a common area within the facility. The storage facility had a locked access gate; Defendant was a renter and gained access with a personalized security code—the officers followed immediately after without entering a security code. At trial, Defendant argued that this charge infringed upon state and federal constitutional protections from unwarranted search and seizure, as the police had entered the locked property without a warrant. On appeal, the Court determined that the State had preserved only one argument raised: the common area of a public storage facility is not “private” for constitutional purposes. The Court held that Defendant’s status as a renter does not provide a reasonable expectation of privacy within a common area of a public storage facility—unlike a private residence—and the officer’s entry did not violate Defendant’s constitutional privacy interests. Reversed and remanded.

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