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State v. Tovar

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-03-2013
Case #: A145510
Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145510.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Statements made by a defendant after being unlawfully seized must be suppressed.

Defendant was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was pulled over and was later convicted unlawful possession of marijuana, ORS 475.864. While officer was asking the driver of the vehicle for license, registration, and insurance documents he noticed the smell of marijuana. Officer then gained consent from the driver to search the vehicle. Defendant was asked to step out of the vehicle and subsequently a pat down search was conducted, revealing a canister in Defendant's pocket. Officers removed the canister, discovering marijuana inside. Officers then elicited from Defendant incriminating statements regarding the contents of a backpack inside the vehicle and Defendant's consent to search the backpack, discovering more marijuana inside. At trial, Defendant sought a suppression order for all evidence obtained during the traffic stop, arguing that the evidence had been obtained in violation of Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. The trial court suppressed the marijuana found on Defendant's person but admitted Defendants statements and the evidence contained in the backpack. On appeal, the State conceded that Defendant was unlawfully seized at the time he was ordered to step out of the vehicle; however, the State contended that marijuana in the backpack should not be suppressed because of the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. The Court of Appeals held that both the marijuana found on Defendant's person and the statements made by Defendant were obtained in violation of Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. The Court also concluded that the contents of the backpack were admissible under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. Reversed and Remanded.