State v. Davenport

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 08-12-2015
  • Case #: A149453
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J., for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The officer-safety exception to the warrant requirement of search and seizure does not apply to situations in which a suspect is cooperative and does not cause the officer to reasonably suspect that the suspect poses a serious risk or harm.

Defendant convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Defendant appealed, assigning error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence that the arresting officer obtained without a warrant. The state argued that the officer was allowed to retrieve the evidence through the officer-safety exception to the warrant requirement. During the arrest, the officer conducted a patdown search, for which Defendant was unarmed and cooperative. The officer noticed the object in question during that search. The officer asked Defendant for permission to remove the object from Defendant’s shirt pocket; Defendant refused, but the officer removed the object from Defendant’s shirt anyway. The object contained methamphetamine, and Defendant was arrested. Defendant moved to suppress evidence of the object; the trial court found that the officer’s action was “within the scope of reasonable officer safety measures.” Defendant argued that the object was retrieved in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. On appeal, the Court reviewed the officer-safety doctrine using the standards set forth in State v. Rodriguez-Perez. The Court concluded that the officer unlawfully removed the object from Defendant’s pocket during the patdown search because the officer did not have “a reasonable suspicion that Defendant posed a serious threat or harm,” that would have been neutralized upon removal of the object. The Court held that the search and seizure was conducted in violation of Article I, Section 9. Reversed and remanded.

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