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State v. Kingsmith

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-30-2013
Case #: A146604
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146604.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Incriminating evidence obtained against a particular defendant during a traffic stop should be suppressed if the officer's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity was not based on actions or characteristics of that defendant.

Defendant appealed a conviction of possession of methamphetamine.  Defendant was a back-seat passenger in a vehicle involved in a traffic stop.  During the traffic stop, the officers observed suspicious behavior of the driver as well as the front-seat passenger, but not specifically of Defendant.  The officers, acting on suspicion that the driver and the front-seat passenger were involved in criminal drug activity, searched the vehicle.  The officers found Defendant’s purse in the back seat, which contained methamphetamine and a methamphetamine pipe.  Defendant was charged and convicted of unlawful possession under ORS 475.894. Defendant argued the trial court erred in the denial of her motion to suppress because the extension of the traffic stop was not supported by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.  Defendant also argued, in the alternative, that even if the officers had reasonable suspicion that the driver and the front-seat passenger were involved in criminal activity, there was no evidence to support a reasonable suspicion that Defendant was involved in criminal activity.  The Court agreed with Defendant’s second argument because the officers did not report any observed actions or physical characteristics of Defendant prior to the search.  Reversed and remanded.