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State v. Hatfield

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-07-2011
Case #: A140177
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Rosenblum, S.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A142167.htm

Criminal Law: Consent to search is not an incriminating response. A request for consent to search is not interrogation under the Oregon or federal Constitutions, even after a defendant’s unequivocal request for counsel.

Defendant appealed multiple convictions, contending the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress, claiming violations of the state and federal Constitutions. Defendant was arrested, away from his home. He consented to searches of his person and car, but told police he would not consent to a search of his residence. Police informed defendant that it was his right to deny consent, but that officers would apply for a search warrant. Defendant then asked to speak to an attorney, and was offered several opportunities to contact one, but never did. Again, police requested his consent to search his home. After imposing conditions for a search, which the police agreed to, the defendant consented to the search. The trial court found that the request for counsel was equivocal, and therefore the subsequent requests for consent to search were lawful. The Court of Appeals concluded that the trail court erred in holding that the request for counsel was equivocal. However, because a request to search is not an unlawful interrogation and the defendant’s consent was voluntary, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress. Affirmed.