State v. Fair

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-31-2013
  • Case #: S058458
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Linder, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; and Baldwin, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Temporary detention of an individual is constitutional if: (1) there is a reasonable belief that an offense involving danger of forcible injury to a person recently has been committed nearby; (2) there is a reasonable belief that the person has knowledge that may aid the investigation of the suspected crime; and (3) the detention is reasonably necessary to obtain or verify the identity of the person, or to obtain an account of the crime.

The State petitioned for review of the Court of Appeals decision. The issue was whether the investigation of Defendant by police officers resulted in a constitutionally permissible seizure. Officers responded to a 9-1-1 call that had been traced to Defendant's home. The officers ordered Defendant to step out of her home and remain on the porch. While questioning Defendant, an officer observed a syringe cap fall out of Defendant's pocket. Defendant consented to a search of her person and the officer discovered a glass pipe with drug residue on it, which resulted in Defendant's arrest. The Court of Appeals found that the officer’s conduct was a "seizure" for constitutional purposes, and the Oregon Supreme Court agreed. Next, the Court articulated a standard for determining whether a temporary on-scene detention of a potential witness is constitutional. The Court held that a temporary detention will be constitutional if: "(1) the officer reasonably believes that an offense involving danger of forcible injury to a person recently has been committed nearby; (2) the officer reasonably believes that the person has knowledge that may aid the investigation of the suspected crime; and (3) the detention is reasonably necessary to obtain or verify the identity of the person, or to obtain an account of the crime." Here, the officers had probable cause to believe that defendant was a victim of domestic abuse and acted reasonably in temporarily detaining her for questioning. Decision of the Court of Appeals reversed. Judgment of the circuit court affirmed.


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