State v. Leahey

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-12-2015
  • Case #: A155221
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Flynn, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, a passenger of a vehicle is not subject to an unlawful stop when officers request that the defendant wait outside the car during a search. Further, under the same section, a passenger who consents to a patdown search and a search of a duffel bag is not subject to an unlawful search.

Defendant appeals the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence of a stolen laptop computer and methamphetamine leading to Defendant's convictions for first degree theft and unlawful possession. Defendant argues that the evidence was gained due to an unlawful traffic stop. Defendant was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by police officers. When the officers stopped the vehicle, they told Defendant he was free to go, but Defendant stayed near the vehicle. An officer requested for, and Defendant consented to, a patdown search, finding methamphetamine on Defendant's person. Upon consent of the driver, an officer searched the vehicle, finding a duffel bag, which Defendant stated he owned. Defendant consented to the officer's request to search the bag, which revealed a laptop computer belonging to Lewis & Clark College. The trial court admitted both of these pieces of evidence over Defendant's motion to suppress, despite Defendant's arguments that the evidence had been obtained from an illegal stop pursuant to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In support of his motion, Defendant only cited Oregon case law, and the trial court denied on grounds that Defendant had consented to the search. On appeal, Defendant argues that under Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution and under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the officers had lawfully stopped Defendant as a passenger, but had unlawfully extended the stop when he was asked to leave the car while the officers conducted the search. The Court determined that Defendant's arguments under the Oregon Constitution were foreclosed by case law due to his consent to the searches, and that Defendant's arguments under the Fourth Amendment were unpreserved. Affirmed.

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