State v. Bennett - McCall

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 09-10-2014
  • Case #: A152824 (Control), A152825
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Devore, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Automobile and officer safety exceptions applied to searches incident to an arrest for the sale of drugs where, with probable cause, officers searched defendants’ vehicle and a backpack found within; neither exception applied to a later search of the same backpack where defendants posed no immediate threat to officer safety and officers were in control of defendant’s backpack.

The State appealed, and Defendants cross-appealed, from a pretrial order partially granting Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of Defendants’ vehicle. Police learned from an informant that Defendants were involved in the sale of drugs, and officers set up a bust-buy to take place on January 20, 2012, between Defendants and the informant. Defendants arrived at the store parking lot where the bust-buy was to take place; upon detailed information gathered from the informant, officers arrested Defendants. Defendant McCall had to be forcibly removed from the vehicle, after which officers handcuffed McCall and placed him under the store’s awning. Officers searched the vehicle and found containers of marijuana and a marijuana pipe. Upon searching a backpack on the floor of the vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun and additional containers of marijuana. A search of Defendant McCall’s cell phone revealed text messages connected to the sale of Vicodin. Thirty-five to forty minutes later, Defendant McCall requested that a detective retrieve a catheter from the backpack previously searched; the detective found bottles of Vicodin with McCall’s name on the label. The trial court denied Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence found in the Cadillac, granted Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence found in the first search of the backpack, finding no warrant exception applied, and granted Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence found in the second search of the backpack because Defendant McCall did not give consent to search by asking for his catheter. On appeal, the State argued that the searches of the backpack fell within the automobile and officer safety exceptions; Defendants argued the backpack searches did not fall within any exception because officers did not have probable cause to believe that the car or backpack contained evidence of a crime. The Court found that automobile exception applied to the search of the vehicle and the initial search of the backpack, but that the second backpack search later was unjustified because the officers had no reasonable suspicion that McCall posed an immediate threat of serious physical injury to the officer or another person then present due to McCall being handcuffed in his wheelchair under the awning and officers were in control of the backpack. Order suppressing evidence during the first backpack search reversed; cross-appeal affirmed.

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