State v. McHenry

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 07-01-2015
  • Case #: A1543444
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To support probable cause for entering a house without a warrant, the officer must have some evidence that it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed. In the context of furnishing alcohol to minors, the officer must know more than the facts that there is a party and minors have alcohol in order to have probable cause to enter a house.

Defendant appeals a conviction for interfering with a peace officer by failing to obey a lawful order. Police responded to a report of a fight and injured person in Defendant’s home. Upon arrival, the officers found several intoxicated minors outside; the officers knocked on the front door, which swung open, ordered everyone outside, and entered to find Defendant. The officers ordered Defendant to stay for an interview, but Defendant left. At trial, Defendant moved to suppress evidence that he disobeyed the officers, arguing that the evidence was derived from a warrantless search. The trial denied Defendant's motion, finding that there was probable cause that alcohol had been furnished to minors and exigent circumstances supported the warrantless entry. On appeal, Defendant reiterated this argument, and the Court held that the officer did not have an objectively reasonable belief that the crime of furnishing alcohol to minors had more likely than not been committed. The minors telling officers that Defendant was the “host” of the party and the fact that there were 25 people at this party was insufficient to make it more likely than not that alcohol had been furnished to minors, as opposed to minors bringing alcohol to the party themselves. Reversed and remanded.

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