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State v. Cruz-Renteria

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-27-2012
Case #: A145766
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145766.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Marion County Sheriff’s Office Policy 3315 requires that “when taking custody of a prisoner’s property for temporary storage,” deputies are required to “open closed containers designed to typically carry identification, cash, valuables, medications or contraband,” and not open those that merely could contain such items.

Defendant appealed his conviction, based on a conditional plea, of possessing both heroin and methamphetamine. Deputies arrested Defendant after discovering Defendant possessed methamphetamine. During intake, a deputy noticed two “canister vials…about the size of a lipstick tube,” hung from Defendant’s belt. Though the deputy had never seen such canisters before, the deputy believed that the canisters “could” contain contraband. The deputy opened the canisters and discovered heroin. Defendant moved to suppress the heroin found, arguing that the inspection exceeded the scope of Marion County Sherriff’s Office Policy 3315. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion, stating that because the canisters “could” contain contraband, the search was legal. The Court of Appeals held that the search did exceed the scope of the Sherriff’s Policy because it is not enough that the items searched “could” contain contraband, they must be the kind that “typically” contain contraband. The deputy who had opened the canisters had never before seen or heard of such items containing contraband, they were not the type that typically held contraband. Reversed and remanded.