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State v. Doser

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-25-2012
Case #: A143165
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Brewer, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/Publications/A143165.pdf

Criminal Procedure: When determining whether a defendant invoked his right to remain silent, courts must view the statement using a totality of the circumstances test from a reasonable officer's perspective.

Defendant appealed his identity theft and forgery in the second degree convictions. Defendant attempted to cash a check, but the teller noticed the check was out of sequence and the authorizing signatures were different. The teller called police and Defendant was apprehended. He divulged certain information, but during other parts of his interview said he was not going to "rat" out anyone or "give anyone up." At trial, Defendant sought to suppress the interview statements because his refusal to divulge certain information was an invocation of his right to remain silent. The trial court denied Defendant's motion and he appealed. The Court of Appeals stated that officers must clarify an ambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent, but if the suspect initiates further conversation, the requirement may dissipate. Secondly, when determining whether a defendant invoked the right to remain silent, courts use a totality of the circumstances approach from a reasonable officer's perspective. The Court held that a reasonable officer would not have understood Defendant's refusal to discuss certain issues, but not others, as an equivocal invocation of his right to remain silent. Affirmed.