State v. Young

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 01-28-2015
  • Case #: A151946
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; & Haselton, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Even if the officer-safety exception justifies initial seizure, once passengers are seated on the curb and backup has arrived, there’s no plausible reason why safety concerns would require reentry to the vehicle or removal of property.

Defendant appealed his conviction for manufacturing, delivering, and possessing marijuana. An officer discovered a disabled car. When the officer asked what was wrong, the driver stood up outside the car and reached in, towards the floorboard. The officer pulled out his gun and ordered the driver and passengers, one of which was Defendant, to put their hands on their heads. The officer told them he would “shoot them” if they moved. The officer noticed the smell of marijuana and said he “wanted it.” The passengers didn’t reply. When backup arrived, the car was searched, a backpack was found, and the officer asked the driver if he could search it. The driver gave permission, but the backpack was not his; a bit later, Defendant and another passenger admitted it was theirs and that it contained marijuana belonging to both of them. Marijuana was found, and Miranda rights were read. At trial, Defendant moved to suppress evidence resulting from the “warrantless” search. The motion was denied. On appeal, the Court held the warrantless seizure of the backpack was not lawful because the officers concerns for his safety did not justify later intrusion to seize the backpack while the passengers were detained out of the car. The State failed to show consent to search was “not the product of police exploitation” of the unlawful seizure. Reversed and remanded.

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