State v. Sanchez

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 09-23-2015
  • Case #: A154007
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, P.J. for the Court; Flynn, J.; & De Muniz, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article 1, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, when an individual's right to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures is violated, the court must look to the totality of circumstances in determining whether to suppress evidence collected thereafter. An individual’s consent does not automatically break the causal chain between the illegal search and seizure and evidence collected.

Defendant was convicted of DUII. The trial court suppressed some, but not all, evidence obtained through an unlawful search of D’s backyard. Defendant hit a parked car and left the scene. Officers went to Defendant’s house. One officer entered the backyard and shined a flashlight through windows until he found Defendant and ordered her to the front door. A final officer arrived and questioned Defendant; Defendant admitted to drinking and then driving home. Defendant consented to and then failed field sobriety tests. Defendant argues that the entrance into her backyard was unlawful and all evidence stemming from that search should have been suppressed. The state responds that Defendant’s admission to the final officer was not tainted because that officer was not involved in the violation of Defendant’s rights and Defendant chose to speak with the officer. However, the final officer’s contact with Defendant was a direct result of the unlawful search and seizure. The mere fact that Defendant consented to speak with the officer and conduct field sobriety tests does not break the causal link between the illegal conduct and evidence acquired. Considering the totality of circumstances, the constitutional violations were particularly gross and numerous and close in time (approximately 15 minutes) to the gathered evidence. The trial court erred by not suppressing all of the evidence obtained through the unlawful search. Conviction for DUII reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.

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