State v. Beck

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 02-25-2015
  • Case #: A151303
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P. J. for the Court; Sercombe, J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A trial court does not err when it denies a motion to suppress if the then admitted statements are harmless.

Defendant appealed his conviction for misdemeanor driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII). Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress statements made during his interview, arguing that because he had invoked his right to counsel, the officer violated that right by conducting the interview. Defendant did not make statements that incriminated him concerning alcohol or drugs. In determining whether a defendant’s statement was unequivocal, the Court views the statement in light of the totality of the circumstances at, and preceding, the time that it was made to ascertain whether a reasonable officer in the circumstances would have understood that defendant was invoking his rights. The Court concluded that they did not need to decide whether the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because any error in admitting Defendant’s statements was harmless. Defendant further argued that for DUII there must be a showing of a voluntary act. The trial court declined Defendant’s jury instructions because it did not construe Defendant’s statements to police as being involuntary or made unconsciously. The Court concluded that the trial court did not err in refusing to give the proposed jury instruction because there was no evidence in the record to support Defendant’s theory of the case. Affirmed.

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