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State v. Weiner

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 01-16-2013
Case #: A145445
Duncan, J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Armstrong, P.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147147.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Under the unavoidable lull rule, it is not an unconstitutional seizure for an officer to make inquiries unrelated to a traffic stop while that officer is waiting for the results of a records check, so long as those inquiries do not unlawfully expand the stop.

The State appealed the trial court’s granting of Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence during a traffic stop of a truck in which Defendant was a passenger. During the stop, the driver consented to the search and police found methamphetamine where Defendant was sitting. Defendant argued that the request for consent unlawfully expanded the traffic stop because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or a threat to officer safety. The State responded that the officer was permitted to ask questions unrelated to the stop during an unavoidable lull while the officer waited for results of a records check. Furthermore, those questions do not require independent suspicion, and therefore, the stop was not unlawfully extended. The trial court agreed with Defendant, suppressed the evidence, and the State appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that, under the unavoidable lull rule, the officer was free to request the driver’s consent while waiting for the results of the records check, and the search did not unlawfully extend the traffic stop. Reversed and remanded.