State v. Sigfridson 

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-26-2017
  • Case #: A160192
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To satisfy its burden under the inevitable discovery doctrine, the state was required to show by a preponderance of evidence "(1) that certain proper and predictable investigatory procedures would have been utilized in the instant case, and (2) that those procedures inevitably would have resulted in the discovery of the evidence in question.” State v. Miller, 300 Or 203, 226 (1985).

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction on one count of possession of heroin, ORS 475.854. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress physical evidence—a syringe, a “cooker,” and a small plastic baggie and its contents—that was discovered by a sheriff’s deputy while taking defendant into custody on a probation violation. On appeal, Defendant argued that the record fails to establish that if the officer would have conducted a lawful patdown that it would have revealed the syringe, let alone the cooker or baggie found in defendant’s pockets, had defendant not disclosed the existence and location of those items in response to unlawful interrogation. The State argued that the “proper and predictable” procedure of a search incident to arrest would have led to the discovery of the syringe and cooker. The State’s position was that “[a] pat-down or limited search for weapons to protect the officer is always justified” as part of a search incident to arrest. When an officer fails to give the requisite Miranda warnings, a court must suppress not only the statements that a suspect makes in direct response to unwarned questioning, but also evidence that derives from that constitutional violation. State v. Vondehn, 348 Or 462, 476, 236 P3d 691 (2010). “To satisfy its burden under the inevitable discovery doctrine, the state was required to show by a preponderance of evidence ‘(1) that certain proper and predictable investigatory procedures would have been utilized in the instant case, and (2) that those procedures inevitably would have resulted in the discovery of the evidence in question.’” State v. Miller, 300 Or 203, 226 (1985). In this case, the officer did not provide any testimony about how a patdown of this arrestee would have proceeded without those admissions, such as describing the size and shape of the capped syringe or cooker, the thickness of the defendant’s clothing, or what the discovered items might have felt like through the Defendant’s clothing. The Court of Appeals held that the record supported, at most, a conclusion that the officer might have lawfully discovered the physical evidence during a patdown of Defendant. The inevitable discovery doctrine requires more than that. Reversed.

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