State v. Pilgrim

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A154742
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J., for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Egan, J.

A passenger’s silence as to whether objects located within a vehicle belong to him does not indicate that that passenger has unequivocally manifested an intention in giving up his possessory and privacy interest in said objects.

Defendant appealed a conviction for possession of a burglary tool or theft device contending that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence pursuant to an illegal search under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. Defendant was a passenger in a car which was pulled over for suspicions of attempted car theft. The driver of the vehicle gave the officers permission to search the vehicle. An officer asked Defendant whether he had anything in the vehicle belonging to him. Defendant did not verbally respond but did grab a bag of candy from the car. The officer took that to mean that only the candy belonged to Defendant and proceeded to search a bag found in the car that contained the evidence at issue. Defendant admitted to the bag being his. This Court found that the trial court erred because the defendant did not “unequivocally manifest an intention” to relinquish his “possessory and privacy interests” in the bag. This Court further reiterated that the burden is on the State to prove that Defendant did indeed relinquish his interest in the object. Reversed and remanded.

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