- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
- Date Filed: 05-20-2020
- Case #: A164915
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J for the Court; Armstong, PJ; & Shorr, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed convictions from separate cases in this merged criminal appeal. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of her motion to suppress and argued that neither were the searches performed pursuant to a search warrant nor did the situations provide an exception to the warrant as a constitutional justification. Warrantless searches are per se unreasonable unless categorized under an exception such as the “automobile” exception. In order to apply the automobile exception, “(1) the car must have been mobile at the time it was lawfully stopped by the police; and (2) the police had probable cause to believe that the car contained contraband or crime evidence at the time of the search.” State v. Bliss, 363 Or 426, 438, 423 P3d 53 (2018). Absent probable cause, the automobile exception does not justify a warrantless search. The State argued that the officer’s training and experience, coupled with his observation of unused methamphetamine pipes, established probable cause that the defendant possessed methamphetamine. The Court rejected this argument, instead looking to State v. Oller, which states that “evidence of a person’s past or even routine drug use, without additional evidence, does not give rise to the reasonable inference that the person currently possesses drugs.” Oller, 277 Or App 529, 538, 371 P3d 1268 (2016). In applying the holding in Oller, the Court reasoned that the officer’s testimony failed to yield enough facts specific to the situation. The facts upon which the officer relied would not lead a reasonable person to believe that the defendant currently possessed drugs in her vehicle. Reversed and remanded.