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State v. Bertsch

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-11-2012
Case #: A143880
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Brewer, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A143880.pdf

Evidence: A person's proximity to criminal activity does not give rise to a reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in the criminal activity. Also, evidence collected during an unlawfully extended traffic stop, even after consent from the vehicle's owner, should be suppressed.

Defendant appealed a conviction for possession of methamphetamine based on the trial court's failure to suppress evidence because that evidence was produced from an unlawfully extended traffic stop. A sergeant was surveilling an apartment looking for a suspect wanted for trafficking drugs who frequented that location. After seeing Defendant, who fit the suspect's description, leave the apartment, the sergeant radioed dispatch to pull over the car. During the traffic stop, police discovered that Defendant was not the suspect they were looking for, but asked to search the car anyway. Defendant consented to the search and a methamphetamine pipe was discovered in the vehicle. Defendant argued that the traffic stop was unlawfully extended, and her consent was a product of that unlawful seizure. The State argued that the search was lawful because it was supported by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The Court of Appeals held that a person's presence in a location associated with drug activity is not enough to presume that person's association with drug activity. Furthermore, Defendant's consent to the search was not sufficient to sever the link between the police illegality of extending the traffic search. Reversed and Remanded.