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State v. Soto

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-29-2012
Case #: A145603
Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Duncan, J. dissented.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A145603.pdf

Criminal Procedure: An unlawful seizure occurs when, without justification, the totality of a police officer's actions have led a person to reasonably believe that their liberty or freedom of movement was restricted by the officer's show of authority.

Defendant appealed a conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm. While on gang interdiction duty, two officers approached three individuals, one of which was Defendant. When the officers approached the group, the Defendant ignored the officers and continued to walk away. One of the officers followed and quickly caught up with Defendant. The officer asked the Defendant if he would talk with him back near the group. Defendant replied, "Okay." The officer asked the Defendant if he had any weapons on him. Defendant indicated that he did, at which point Defendant was searched and taken into custody for unlawful possession of a firearm. Defendant contends that evidence of carrying a firearm should have been suppressed because he was unlawfully seized by the officer. The trial court denied Defendant's motion to suppress the evidence and he was convicted. The Court of Appeals held that none of the individual circumstances of this case support a finding that the officer restricted Defendant's freedom of movement by a show of authority. Furthermore, the totality of the officer's actions were minimally intrusive and would not have led a reasonable person to believe their movement had been restricted. Affirmed.