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State v. Mast

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-27-2012
Case #: A142746
Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A142746.pdf

Constitutional Law: Under Article I, section 9, a private office constitutes a protected privacy interest which requires a warrant in order to search. The administrative search exception does not give an officer the authority to "forcibly enter" said private office or premises.

Defendant appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance under ORS 475.752(3)(a) on the grounds that the search performed at his private office in his place of business was unlawful, and therefore the trial court erred in admitting the evidence generated from the search. The Court agreed with the Defendant that the search was unlawful under ORS 18.887, the administrative search exception to the warrant requirement, and under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. This is because the deputies, carrying out a writ of execution for the purpose of levying property, did not have consent to search the defendant's office because it was private and an average person complying with social norms would not have felt free to venture into without permission. The Court determined that these circumstances constituted "forcible entry" under ORS 18.887(1) and therefore the deputies were required to have a court order to carry out the search. Since the deputies did not have a court order, the search was unlawful, and the trial court erred in permitting the entry of the evidence it produced. Reversed and remanded.