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State v. Singer

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-21-2011
Case #: A138767
Armstrong, J. for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; Brewer, C.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A138767.pdf

Constitutional Law: A person has been seized under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution if a reasonable person, under the totality of the circumstances, would believe that his or her freedom of movement has been restricted by a law enforcement officer.

Defendant was riding as a passenger in a vehicle when a police officer pulled the driver over for an illegal turn. The officer noticed that Defendant looked nervous, so he asked her for her name and date of birth. Upon running a warrant check, the officer ascertained that she was on probation after a conviction for a drug-related crime. The officer returned to the vehicle and asked Defendant to step out of the car, at which point he determined that Defendant was under the influence of intoxicants and asked for consent to search her person and belongings. The issue on appeal was whether Defendant was ‘seized,’ as defined in Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. The Court of Appeals concluded that she was, because a reasonable person in her situation would believe that she was the subject of a criminal investigation from the officer’s conduct toward Defendant, hence restricting her freedom of movement. Therefore, Defendant was seized under Article I, section 9 before the officer asked for consent to search Defendant’s belongings. Reversed and remanded.