State v. Stone

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-18-2015
  • Case #: A152000
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Mooney, J. pro temp
  • Full Text Opinion

The fact that police question a person as a suspect in a crime does not inherently create a compelling setting for Oregon constitutional purposes.

Defendant appealed his conviction of unlawful possession of marijuana, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his answers to a police officer’s questions. The officer had found Defendant walking in a parking lot, where the officer observed that Defendant was intoxicated. The officer told Defendant he would be handcuffed and transported to a detoxification center. The officer then asked him if he had anything he was not supposed to have. Defendant responded that he had marijuana in his backpack, which the officer later found on a consent search. On appeal, Defendant argued that the officer was required to give him Miranda warnings because he was questioned in compelling circumstances for purposes of Article I, section 12, of the Oregon Constitution. The Court noted that whether a defendant was in compelling circumstances turns on how a reasonable person in Defendant’s position would have understood his situation. The Court held that the fact that police question a person as a suspect in a crime does not inherently create a compelling setting for Oregon constitutional purposes. The Court found that, because the officer’s question merely suggested that Defendant might be in possession of an unlawful item and did not assume his guilt or connect him to a specific crime, the circumstances were not compelling when the officer questioned Defendant or when Defendant answered that he had marijuana. Affirmed.

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