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State v. Powell

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-19-2012
Case #: S059620
Walters, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Durham, J; De Muniz; J; Kistler, J; and Linder, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/S059620.pdf

Evidence: Under ORS 136.425(1), incriminatory statements that are made under promises of leniency are inadmissible as evidence.

Defendant, a FedEx courier, was charged with first degree theft when he stole numerous packages. The trial court suppressed incriminating statements the Defendant made to FedEx investigators, and later to a police officer. The State appealed the trial court's suppression of Defendant's statements, where the Court of Appeals affirmed the suppression of statements to the investigators, but not to the police officer, reasoning that the presence of a uniformed officer and the reading of Miranda rights should have alerted Defendant to the potential gravity of his statements. The Supreme Court held that based on the record, both the investigators and police officer had given Defendant a reasonable expectation of leniency for his cooperation. Under ORS 136.425(1), confessions are inadmissible if made under the influence of promises of leniency. Thus, the trial court did not err in suppressing the incriminatory statements made to the FedEx investigators or to the police officer. Affirmed in part, reversed in part; remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.