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State v. Dimmick

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-15-2012
Case #: A143666
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; & Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/sites/Publications/A143190.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Police inventories must be managed pursuant to a properly administered administrative program that does not involve exercise of discretion of the police. When the evidence in joined cases is sufficiently simple and distinct, jury instruction can cure any possible prejudice.

Defendant was convicted on several counts of unlawful delivery and possession of methamphetamine. The trial court joined and consolidated the charges from four different incidents and denied Dimmick’s motion to suppress evidence found in his backpack and his motion to sever. Police acquired Dimmick’s backpack pursuant to an inventory search of his car. However, the relevant impoundment policy was unclear about whether contents of the vehicle at the time it was stopped must be inventoried. That decision was left to the discretion of the police. Police inventories must be managed pursuant to a properly administered administrative program that does not involve exercise of discretion of the police. Thus, the Court of Appeals held that the seizure of the backpack was invalid. Since the evidence obtained from the backpack likely affected the verdict, Dimmick’s conviction on one count was reversed and remanded. The Court found that the joinder and consolidation of the charges was not prejudicial to Dimmick because the evidence was sufficiently simple and distinct, and jury instruction could cure any possible prejudice. The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to join and consolidate the charges.