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State v. Northcutt

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-26-2011
Case #: A143278
Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, C.J.; & Armstrong, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A143278.pdf

Criminal Law: A “compelling” atmosphere exists when officers create a police dominated environment. The factors of a “compelling” atmosphere include: 1) the location; 2) length; 3) whether the officers confronted and pressured the defendant; and 4) the defendant’s ability to terminate the encounter.

Defendant appeals her second-degree trademark counterfeiting guilty plea. The defendant attempted to sell trademarked items without authorization. An informer invited FBI agents to a "purse party" wherein the defendant was questioned in a closed room for ninety minutes. Defendant contended that the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress due to the lack of a Miranda warning and her belief the interview was compelled. Defendant claimed that the interview was compelled due to its length, her belief that she was obligated to stay, the number of agents, the location of the agents, and the agent’s reference to the defendant’s guilt. Under State v. Mcgee, Miranda warnings are required prior to an interrogation and when there are compelling circumstances. A “compelling” atmosphere exists when officers create a police dominated environment. The factors of a “compelling” atmosphere include: 1) the location; 2) length; 3) whether the officers confronted and pressured the defendant; and 4) the defendant’s ability to terminate the encounter. Using the aforementioned factors, the defendant’s situation did not produce an environment that Miranda was intended to protect. Affirmed.