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State v. Backstrand

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-21-2013
Case #: S058318
Linder, J. for the Court; En Banc; Walters, J., Baldwin, J., and Brewer, J. concurred
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S058019.pdf

Criminal Procedure: A mere request for identification made by an officer in the course of an otherwise lawful encounter does not, in and of itself, result in a seizure.

Both Defendant and the State sought review. An officer approached Defendant in an adult store and asked for identification because he believed he was a minor. Defendant complied and handed the officer his driver’s license. The officer held his license for 10-15 seconds while he called dispatch for verification purposes. Dispatch then called back to inform the officer that Defendant’s license was suspended. The officer followed Defendant in his car and arrested him. Defendant moved to suppress all evidence and argued that the officer unlawfully stopped him. The State argued that the encounter did not amount to a seizure. The trial court agreed with the State, but the Court of Appeals reversed. The Court explained that police are free to ask citizens for information and seek cooperation, but if the content of the questions, the manner of asking them, or other actions that police take would convey to a reasonable person that the police are exercising their authority to significantly restrain the citizen’s liberty or freedom of movement, then the encounter becomes a seizure. The Court ruled that a mere request for identification made by an officer in the course of an otherwise lawful encounter does not, in and of itself, result in a seizure. Reversed.