State v. Blair

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-25-2016
  • Case #: A156756
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under State v. DeLong, the scope of voluntary consent is determined by what a reasonable person would have understood the search to include, given the exchange between the officer and the suspect, in light of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the voluntary consent.

Defendant appealed a conviction for one count of possession of a controlled substance. Officers searched Defendant’s backpack after asking for consent. In the backpack, the officer found a plastic bag containing psilocybin mushrooms within a knotted, opaque grocery bag. At trial, Defendant moved to suppress the incriminating evidence found during the warrantless search, arguing that because he was under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms at the time he allowed the search, he was not sufficiently coherent to give voluntary consent. The trial court denied the motion to suppress on the grounds that because Defendant was present at the time of search and did not revoke his consent, the officer did not exceed the scope of Defendant's voluntary consent by opening the grocery bag. On appeal, the Court held that the scope of voluntary consent is determined by what a reasonable person would have understood the search to include, given the exchange between the officer and the suspect, in light of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the voluntary consent. Because the officer did not say anything to Defendant that would have led a reasonable person in Defendant’s position to understand that the officer was looking for controlled substances or weapons hidden in the backpack, the Court concluded the search of the grocery bag within the backpack was illegal. Thus, the Court held that the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. Reversed and remanded.

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