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State v. Meza-Garcia

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-30-2013
Case #: A144513
Oretga, P.J. for the Court; Sercombe, J.; and Edmonds, S.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A144513.pdf

Criminal Procedure: When an officer asks for consent to search following an illegal stop, evidence resulting from the search can be found admissible if the consent is "sufficiently attenuated" from the initial illegal stop.

Defendant appeals his conviction for unlawful delivery of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He assigns error to the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence and claims unlawful search and seizure under Art. 1, Sec. 9 of the Oregon Constitution. An officer stopped the car Defendant was a passenger in for failure to maintain a safe distance from an emergency vehicle. The officer observed several things from which he concluded Defendant and the driver were involved in drug trafficking, including: the vehicle driving northbound on I-5 with California plates, no luggage, strong scent of air freshener, Defendant's nervous demeanor, and third-party registration on the vehicle. The Court of Appeals found that these factors did not give rise to reasonable suspicion. However, the Court found the evidence was discovered resulting from Defendant’s written consent, and that consent was "sufficiently attenuated" from the illegal police conduct because the officer did not gain any advantage from the illegal stop in seeking consent. The officer provided the consent form in both English and Spanish and the form stated Defendant was able to refuse consent. The Court found that although the stop was unlawful, the consent to search was "sufficiently attenuated" from the illegal police conduct. Affirmed.