State v. Woods

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-27-2017
  • Case #: A158553
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J. & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, “[t]o search lost property, officers need to have a good faith, subjective belief that the property is lost and that belief needs to be ‘objectively reasonable under the circumstances.’” State v. Vanburen, 262 Or App 715, 722 (2014).

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for five counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the second degree, ORS 163.686. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, Defendant argued that the officer lacked probable cause to believe that Defendant’s phone contained evidence of a crime. In response, the State argued that the trial court properly determined that the officer’s warrantless search of Defendant’s property fell under the lost property exception provided in Article I, section 9. Under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, “[t]o search lost property, officers need to have a good faith, subjective belief that the property is lost and that belief needs to be ‘objectively reasonable under the circumstances.’” State v. Vanburen, 262 Or App 715, 722 (2014). The Court of Appeals determined that the officer knew Defendant’s phone had been delivered to the police station by someone who knew defendant who did not want Defendant to return to retrieve it. Although the officer had a subjective belief the phone was “lost,” the Court of Appeals held that trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion because the officer did not have an objectively reasonable belief that the phone was “lost,” when he conducted the search. Reversed and remanded.

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