State v. Hite

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-05-2014
  • Case #: A150288, A150289
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, J., for the Court; P.J. Sercombe; & Tookey J..
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, an administrative inventory search policy must not be overly broad nor allow for officer discretion outside the stated policy.

While in Defendant's home, Defendant's probation officer noticed contraband suggesting identity theft. An investigation was launched. Upon apprehending the Defendant, the police searched a backpack from the scene of the arrest. Defendant moved to have all evidence suppressed, arguing that the administrative inventory the department used in justifying the search was inconsistent with the Oregon Constitution's prohibition against unreasonable searches. The trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the Court held that the inventoried property must be properly impounded pursuant to a proper administrative program with established protocol wherein the officer cannot deviate, and the inventory must be reasonably related to the policy purpose. The policy cannot authorize police to indiscriminately rummage through all containers. The Police policy was overly broad, giving officers excessive discretion. The contents of the backpack bolstered not only the charges directly arising from the backpack, but also tainted the evidence found in the home as the state relied on the backpack's contents in corroborating the evidence seized in the home. Case A150288, counts 1, 13, 14, and 15 reversed and remanded; Case A150289 counts 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.

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