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State v. Dierks

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-12-2013
Case #: A149290
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149290.pdf

Criminal Procedure: An individual is subject to a stop requiring reasonable suspicion when an officer asks questions about criminal activity, acquires information about the individual’s identity, and returns to his patrol car with that information.

Defendant appealed from a judgment finding her in contempt for violating a no-contact order. An officer spotted Defendant and a passenger sitting in a vehicle parked in a high crime area. The officer questioned Defendant about criminal activity and asked for her and her passenger’s names. The officer returned to his patrol vehicle and discovered that the passenger had a restraining order against a person with a similar name to the one Defendant provided. The officer then asked Defendant for photo identification, which revealed that she was the individual against whom the passenger had a restraining order. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress evidence because the officer stopped her before he developed reasonable suspicion that she had given a false name. The State argued that Defendant was not stopped when the officer developed reasonable suspicion. The Court of Appeals held that a reasonable person in Defendant’s circumstances would not have felt free to leave once an officer questioned her about criminal activity and returned to his vehicle with information about her identity. The officer stopped Defendant before he developed reasonable suspicion, and the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. Reversed and remanded.