State v. Carle

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-08-2014
  • Case #: A150975
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; and Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Because the sender of a text message has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital copy of a text message delivered to a recipient’s cell phone, a “search” of the sender does not occur under Article I, section 9, or the Fourth Amendment, where police discovered a text message from Defendant on a recipient’s cell phone.

Defendant appealed from the trial court’s denial of her motion to suppress evidence. Police observed a man sleeping in a stolen vehicle. Upon searching, the officers found a cell phone in the trunk that contained a text message from Defendant offering to sell drugs. Officers arranged a sale, detained Defendant when she arrived at the spot of the arranged sale, and read Defendant her Miranda warnings and a consent-to-search card. Defendant subsequently consented to a search of her cell phone where officers found the messages exchanged setting up the sale. During a bench trial, Defendant moved to suppress the evidence of the initial text, and all evidence obtained during the investigation stemming from the text, claiming the discovery of the message was the result of an unreasonable search under Article I, section 9 and the Fourth Amendment. The court denied Defendant’s motion. On appeal, Defendant argued that she retained a privacy interest in the content of the text message she sent. The Court found that because Defendant gave up all right to control the disposition of the text when she sent it, she gave up her privacy interest in the text. The Court held that because no search occurred for purposes of Article I, section 9, or the Fourth Amendment, the motion was properly denied. Affirmed.

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