State v. Garcia

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A154834
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J., for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, C.J.

Under State v. Fair, 353 OR 588 (2013), “a temporary on-the-scene seizure of a likely material witness will be constitutional if: (1) the officer reasonably believes that an offense involving danger of forcible injury to a person recently has been committed nearby; (2) the officer reasonably believes that the person has knowledge that may aid the investigation of the suspected crime; and (3) the detention is reasonably necessary to obtain or verify the identity of the person, or to obtain an account of the crime.” Furthermore, even when temporary on-the-scene detention is legal, continued presence of officers within a home requires either a search warrant or justified exception. This seizure does not create an exception for officer presence within a home without a warrant or other exception.

Defendant appealed his conviction for coercion, menacing, harassment, and assault IV, contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. Defendant argued that the evidence was unlawfully obtained when officers conducted a warrantless search of his home. Officers responded to a disturbance call regarding sounds of yelling and possible hitting at the defendant’s home. Defendant, visibly intoxicated, was confrontational with police and denied that any yelling had occurred or that anyone was in the house. Police entered the house after Defendant eventually admitted to his wife being inside and there was no response when police called out. This Court agreed that officers' entry into the residence was legal under the emergency aid exception, but then stated that the potential emergency dissipated when they found the wife without any recent injuries and when she denied medical attention. The Court stated that there was not enough evidentiary support to allow for the Fair exception. Judge Hadlock concurred with the opinion but stated that the Fair exception “would allow the officers to briefly detain” the wife to investigate whether the wife was a victim of domestic violence but such investigation should be conducted outside the home. Reversed and remanded.

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