State v. Tegland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 02-11-2015
  • Case #: A148797
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J., & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Where erecting a structure in a public space is illegal and the person has been so informed and told that the structure must be removed, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy associated with the space.

Defendant appealed both his conviction of possession of methamphetamine, and a judgment against him for erecting a structure on a public right of way, a Portland City Code violation. He assigns error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence found after police officers lifted a tarp to Defendant’s makeshift shelter (the structure) that partially blocked a public sidewalk. The two officers had told Defendant a week earlier that he must remove his unlawful structure. On the day Defendant was arrested, the officers approached the structure, lifted the tarp, and witnessed Defendant with a glass pipe and lighter. Defendant was arrested for the code violation, which revealed evidence that led to his methamphetamine charge. At trial, defendant had moved to suppress all evidence derived from the officers’ observations, claiming a violation of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. The trial court denied the motion. The Court found that the structure is not a place that can be legitimately deemed as private, because it violated a city code, the police had authorization under the code to remove it, and police had previously informed Defendant that he could not camp in that spot. It found that the officers did not violate the Oregon Constitution, and thus that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion. The Court held that where erecting a structure in a public space is illegal and the person has been so informed and told that the structure must be removed, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy associated with the space. Affirmed.

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