State v. Musser

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-28-2014
  • Case #: S060868
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Evidence obtained from a voluntary consent search must be suppressed when the prior police conduct is unlawful.

Defendant was convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction because the officer stopped Defendant without reasonable suspicion, which invalidates evidence subsequently obtained from the search. The officer stopped Defendant at 10:00pm in an alley behind a shopping center. The officer asked for Defendant’s consent to search her purse and she voluntarily agreed. The officer found methamphetamine and paraphernalia. The State bears the burden of proving that the consent to search was voluntary and not derived from police exploitation and illegality. State v. Unger, 356 Or 59, 74-75. Whether the consent to search was voluntary also depends on the totality of the circumstances including and intervening of mitigating circumstances. There were no intervening or mitigating circumstances that occurred after the time of the stop that would allow the officer to legally perform a search without Defendant’s consent. The Court held that while the consent was voluntary, the evidence obtained was a direct result of an unlawful police stop. The Court ruled that evidence obtained from a voluntary search must be suppressed when the consent was the result of prior illegal police conduct. Affirmed.

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