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State v. Moats

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-08-2012
Case #: A145982
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Brewer, J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145982.pdf

Constitutional Law: A seizure does not occur under Article I section 9 of the Oregon Constitution when officers do not demonstrate authority over a defendant prior to discovering drugs in the vehicle.

Defendant appealed his convictions for drug-related offenses, arguing that the evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal stop and, therefore, the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Officers approached Defendant's car parked in a dark parking lot after observing signs that a drug exchange was taking place therein. The officers conversed with the individuals, then observed four bindles of drugs fall from the passenger's hand. The Court of Appeals looked to Article I section 9 of the Oregon Constitution regarding whether a seizure had occurred prior to the discovery of the drugs and determined that the officers did not significantly restrict or interfere with Defendant's liberty because the officers did not show authority over Defendant. The Court noted that the officers did make a concerted approach to the vehicle, but it did not block Defendant's method of egress. Next, the Court determined that a reasonable person would not believe that a seizure had occurred. Because the seizure did not occur prior to the discovery of the drugs, the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress evidence. Affirmed.