State v. Newcomb

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-16-2016
  • Case #: S062387
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Linder, S.J. 
for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Landau, J.; Baldwin, J.; Brewer, J.; Kistler, J.; & Walters, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An individual does not have possessory rights or search and seizure rights over an animal that is lawfully seized with probable cause.

The State appealed the Court of Appeals' decision that Defendant had a protected privacy interest in her dog's blood under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution or the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The State argued that the Court of Appeals should have upheld the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress blood test results that would indicate malnourishment due to starvation. On appeal, Defendant argued that the dog is personal property under ORS 609.020, and that for purposes of Article I, section 9, a dog is the same as any other item of property that can be lawfully owned or possessed. The Supreme Court agreed that dogs are deemed as property, but the welfare of the dog is subject to explicit statutory protections that do not apply to inanimate property. The Supreme Court held that a warrantless withdrawal and testing of the dog's blood did not violate Article I, section 9, because once the State lawfully seized the dog with probable cause, Defendant lost her possessory rights. The Supreme Court also held that the blood withdrawal did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the blood withdrawal was lawful and therefore, Defendant did not have an expectation of privacy. Reversed.

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