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State v. McClatchey

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-20-2013
Case #: A149816
Hadlock, J for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149816.pdf

Criminal Procedure: The State has the burden to show that a warrant obtained after an illegal search is untainted by the original search. Additionally, a person is not required to assert a privacy interest in their cell phone to receive Article I Section 9 protections.

Defendant appealed his conviction relating to distribution and use of methamphetamine. Police found Defendant and a friend asleep in a motel room. The officers saw drug paraphernalia and a cell phone near Defendant. The men were arrested and the cell phone was sent to forensics. During the arrest Defendant told the officer "he didn't want to say anything." Later and without a warrant, the forensic examiner searched the phone and found revealing text messages. Defendant argued for suppression of the text messages that were obtained without a warrant and the grant of a mistrial based on the officers testimony at trial which included Defendant's statement that he did not want to speak. The trial court disagreed and Defendant appealed. On Appeal, the Court noted that the State failed in its burden to show lack of a privacy interest in the phone, and when a warrant was issued for the phone the State failed to show that the warrant was untainted by the prior illegal search. The Court held that because the State did not raise a meritorious ground for affirming the trial court's ruling the motion to suppress must be reversed and remanded for a new trial on the charges of unlawful delivery. As to the second assignment of error, the Court found that the trial court is in the best position to determine potential prejudice. The trial court could reasonably conclude that the jury was unlikely to draw adverse inferences of guilt from the single reference to Defendant's statement. Judgment as to counts 1 and 2 reversed and remanded; remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.