State v. Lamoreaux

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: A155361
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article 9 Section 1 of the Oregon State Constitution, the scope of a lawful, consented to search is determined by examining two factors; (1) the specific words used by the officer in requesting the search, and (2) whether a reasonable person in Defendant’s shoes would have understood that the officer intended to search for specific items. The second factor is satisfied when the officer is aware that Defendant is on probation and Defendant knows that items related to same crime as on probation for will turn up in a search.

Defendant appeals a conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine and heroine.
Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found during a search of his vehicle. The officer pulled Defendant over and discovered Defendant was on probation for drug charges. The officer told Defendant he was free to leave but asked to search his vehicle. Defendant consented and told the officer he would find a marijuana pipe. When the officer searched a backpack, to which Defendant did not object, he found evidence of methamphetamine. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that Defendant gave the officer “broad consent” to search the car without any “qualifications.” The scope of consent to a search is determined by two factors: (1) the specific words used by the officer to request consent and (2) whether a reasonable person in Defendant’s position would understand the consent to include authorization to conduct a search for particular items. Defendant knew that the officer was aware he was on probation for drug crimes and that a search of the car would uncover a marijuana pipe. The Court concluded that a reasonable person in Defendant’s position would understand that at least one object of the officer’s request was to search for drugs, which would include closed containers where drugs might be found. The totality of circumstances around the officer’s search of Defendant’s backpack did not exceed scope of Defendant’s consent. Affirmed.

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