State v. Belle

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 09-21-2016
  • Case #: A155141
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.

Under ORS 136.425(1), statements made while under the influence of threats, whether before or after a Miranda warning are not admissible. Simply reading a defendant their Miranda rights may alone not be enough to dispel the coercive effect of a pre-Miranda threat.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for theft in the first degree. Defendant was questioned by the police and made inculpatory statements before and after being read his Miranda rights. The trial court concluded that Defendant’s statements had not been induced by threat and thus were admissible into evidence. On appeal, Defendant argued that both his pre- and post-Miranda statements should have been suppressed under ORS 136.425(1). The Court began its analysis with Defendant’s pre-Miranda statements. Defendant argued that threatening to call his commanding officer was enough to improperly induce a confession. The State countered that the threat to contact a third party were insufficient to constitute a threat. However, the Court did not give weight to the State’s argument, due do the fact that the Court had found in previous cases that threats of involving third parties were sufficient to compel suppression of a confession. Finally, the Court reviewed the post-Miranda statements. Specifically, the Court found that the trial court erred because the coercive effect from the police officer’s previous threats were not properly dispelled by a reading of Defendant’s Miranda rights. Conviction for theft in the first degree reversed and remanded.

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