State v. Lambert

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-01-2014
  • Case #: A151279
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Revisiting a previous decision where the case was vacated and remanded for the trial court to sort out the inevitable discovery of evidence after an illegal search, the Court held that their decision to vacate and remand was error and, under Article I, Section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, evidence obtained after a person's rights are violated is tainted evidence.

This case arises from a petition for reconsideration of the Court's previous decision in State v. Lambert, 263 Or App 683, 328 P3d 824 (2014), wherein Court held that the warrantless seizure of a vehicle was illegal, but was unclear as to the evidence obtained as a result. The case was vacated and remanded. Defendant assigns error to that decision, arguing that the Court should have decided on the evidence obtained as a matter of law.

Officers suspected that a particular vehicle they saw was used in a burglary. Without a warrant, they had it towed to the impound lot where they commenced a search and found one of the stolen items and discovered that a vehicle decal they found at the scene of the crime matched the seized vehicle. The Court held that the search was illegal, but that inevitable discovery may be an issue the trial court could revisit on remand. Defendant argues that vacating was inappropriate where the Court should have determined the legality on the matter.

On reconsideration, vacating such an issue, the Court held, was an error. The only time vacating and remanding is appropriate is if there is something in the record that is conflicted and is in need of resolution. Nothing within the record indicates that inevitable discovery or independent source are at issue in this case. Under Article I, Section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, it is presumed that evidence obtained after violating a Defendant's rights is tainted. The fact that the tow was illegal means, without dispute, that the evidence discovered during the search must be suppressed.

The Court's prior decision as to Counts 4 and 5 remains, and, on Counts 2 and 3, the former disposition is withdrawn and reversed and remanded.

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