State v. Baiz

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 01-07-2015
  • Case #: A152801
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Ortega P.J.; & Garrett, J.

When a car is parked, immobile, and unoccupied at the time of a police encounter, then the car is not “mobile”, as required by the automobile exception to the warrant requirement for a police search.

Defendant appealed judgement and denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Police responded to a suspicious person call at a bank. Upon arrival, officers found defendant walking towards his car in the bank parking lot. Defendant consented to a search of his person, but refused consent to search the car. The officer then suggested that defendant walk home and return to his car later. When defendant left, officer saw through the car window saw a duffle bag with a baggie of marijuana protruding. Defendant later returned, and the officer asked defendant about the marijuana, and searched the vehicle to find evidence of unlawful marijuana delivery, and arrested defendant. At trial, defendant moved to suppress evidence from the search, and at the motion hearing argued that the automobile exception did not apply in this case, because the arresting officer never saw defendant operate the vehicle. The trial court denied the motion to suppress in favor of the state’s argument that statements made by the bank manager suggested the vehicle was “constructively mobile”. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeals held that because the car was parked, immobile, and unoccupied at the time of the police encounter, the car was not “mobile”, as required by the automobile exception, and the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion. Reversed and remanded.

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