State v. Paskar

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: A154885
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

It is a violation of Article I section 9 of the Oregon Constitution to obtain evidence through the exploitation of an unlawful search. Additionally, reasonable suspicion in regards to one crime does not provide officers with an excuse to extend a stop and conduct an investigation into a separate crime.

The state appeals the lower court’s order granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence. The defendant and two friends were off the Coast of Newport fishing for halibut. Two police officers witnessed one of the friends catch a deep water-dwelling, yellow-eye rockfish, and return it back to the water without using a device that would keep the fish from sustaining the harm associated with surfacing. The officers came close to the friends’ boat, asked to see their fishing tags and cooler, and while holding onto their boat noticed the friends had caught some prohibited fish. The state disagrees with the lower court ruling that this constitutes an illegal seizure because they contend that there was never a stop, if there was a stop it was justified by reasonable suspicion, or that the search was a lawful administrative search. The Court held that because there was the possibility of criminal sanctions this was not merely an administrative search. The Court further held that this was a stop because asking the friend to show them their tags in combination with holding onto their boat was beyond normal social intercourse. Finally, the Court held that the search was not supported by reasonable suspicion because suspicion of failing to properly release the rockfish is different from the crime of catching prohibited fish. Affirmed.

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