State v. Kennedy

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-08-2017
  • Case #: A159592
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The “officer safety” exception allows officers to take reasonable steps to protect themselves or others if there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulable facts, that the citizen may pose an immediate threat of serious physical injury.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction on a number of weapon charges. Defendant alleged that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a pat down without a warrant. The issue on appeal was whether the pat down was justified by the officer-safety exception to the warrant requirement. On appeal, Defendant argued that the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion that Defendant had committed a crime, and that the pat down was unlawful because it was not supported by reasonable suspicion that Defendant posed a threat at the time of the search. The State argued that given the totality of the circumstances (Defendant walking in an area where no one would walk, towards the stolen vehicle) was sufficient to make the arresting officers actions reasonable, and he reasonably feared for his safety. The Court ultimately found that the arresting officer did not have a reasonable suspicion, and therefore, the motion should have been granted. Reversed and remanded. 

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