State v. Lorenzo

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-28-2014
  • Case #: S060969
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; En Banc; Walters, J.,& Baldwin, J., dissented.
  • Full Text Opinion

Evidence obtained with consent to search is valid despite prior unlawful police conduct when defendant’s consent is not the result of police exploitation of their unlawful conduct.

Defendant appealed a decision to not suppress evidence obtained after consent was given for a search because his consent was coerced or otherwise invalid. Beaverton Police Officers arrived at Defendant’s residence in response to a suicide attempt by Defendant’s roommate. Officer attempted to contact Defendant by calling Defendant’s name and by reaching inside the exterior door to knock on Defendant’s interior bedroom door, but without entering the residence. Officer asked for, and Defendant gave, consent to search Defendant’s bedroom, where officer found marijuana and an illegal firearm. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence, and ruled that the search was valid under the emergency aid exception, not addressing the validity of the consent. Defendant appealed his conviction and the Court of Appeals held that the evidence should be suppressed because the emergency aid exception does not apply.The Supreme Court held that the evidence should not be suppressed because the officer did not gain information about potential criminal activity until after consent was given, and therefore police did not have a coercive advantage over Defendant in gaining consent. Evidence obtained with consent to search is valid despite prior unlawful police conduct when defendant’s consent is not the result of police exploitation of their unlawful conduct. The decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed. The judgment of the circuit court was affirmed.

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