State v. Wabinga

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-20-2014
  • Case #: A150253
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Reasonable suspicion does not require that the facts observed by the officer indicate illegal activity, but only that those facts support a reasonable inference of illegal activity.

Defendant appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of cocaine. Two state troopers noticed Defendant sit up in a parked car and approached, asking Defendant if he was okay. Without being prompted, Defendant got out of the car. While speaking with Defendant, the troopers noticed his behavior was abnormal and he seemed nervous. The troopers asked him if they could do a patdown search, and Defendant consented. One trooper saw suspected drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. Defendant consented to a search of the car. While one officer retrieved the item, the other officer observed Defendant take something white out of his pocket and throw it toward the river behind him. The officers arrested Defendant and retrieved the thrown item, which was a bag of cocaine. Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress the drug evidence. He argued that the troopers seized him by continuing to question him after he said he did not need assistance; the request for and the actual patdown search constituted a show of authority that effected his seizure; and, when the troopers arrested Defendant, they lacked reasonable suspicion. The Court found none of the troopers’ actions prior to the arrest amounted to a seizure, because they could not reasonably be construed as a threatening or coercive show of authority that required compliance, and Defendant did not withdraw consent at any time. The Court found that the officers had reasonable suspicion, and found the stop only occurred once Defendant was actually arrested. Affirmed.

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