State v. Andersen

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2017
  • Case #: S063169
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Landau, J.; Baldwin, J.; & Brewer, J.; Walters, J., concurring.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applies only if a car is mobile when an officer first encounters it in the investigation of a crime. However, the officer need not visually see the vehicle in motion. An officer can perform a warrantless search or seizure of a vehicle if the officer is able to reasonably infer that the vehicle has “momentarily come to a rest.”

State petitioned for a review of the judgment by the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found during the search of her vehicle. The Court of Appeals held the automobile exception only applies when officers visually observes the vehicle moving. State petition for review. On review, Defendant argued the officers did not see her car moving, and the automobile exception requires officers to perform an actual stop of a moving vehicle. Under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, the automobile exception to the warrant requirement permits a warrantless search or seizure only if a vehicle is mobile when officers first encounters it in the investigation a crime. The officer need not visually see the car in motion. An officer can perform a warrantless search if the officer is able to reasonably infer that the vehicle has “momentarily come to a rest.” In this case, the officers did not visually observe defendant's car arrive. However, the Supreme Court held that the automobile exception applied because the officers in this case had listened to a running account of the car’s arrival through a confidential informant. Therefore, the trial court could reasonably have found that Defendant only stopped her vehicle momentarily to complete the drug transaction. The decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed. The judgment of the circuit court was affirmed.  Walters, J. concurred in a separate opinion.

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