State v. Jones

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 08-03-2016
  • Case #: A156828
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Lagesen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When considering whether a defendant abandoned a protected interest in property prior to a police search, affirmatively claiming an interest in certain items is insufficient by itself to support an inference, by negative implication, that the defendant abandoned his or her interests in other items.

Defendant appealed a conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He contented that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized during the warrantless search. The trial court concluded that Defendant had abandoned any protected interest in the property when he failed to claim it prior to the search. In State v. Pilgrim, 276 Or. App. 753, 369 P3d 434 (2016), the Court explained that in order to "relinquish a person’s constitutionally protect[ed] interests in an object *** the person must unequivocally manifest an intent to do that. . . . A defendant’s statement disclaiming any interest in an object may suffice to communicate such an intention, but a defendant’s silence does not." Pilgrim instructs that affirmatively claiming an interest in certain items is insufficient by itself to support an inference, by negative implication, that the person has abandoned his or her interests in other items. In this case, Defendant did not disclaim ownership interest in his property. The Court held that the search was unlawful, and the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found during the search. Reversed and remanded.

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