- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
- Date Filed: 09-01-2021
- Case #: A172543
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Powers, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Defendant appealed “a judgment of conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine.” Defendant assigned error to “the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained” from his warrantless arrest. On appeal, Defendant argued that the officer who ordered the arrest did not have an objectively reasonable basis to believe Defendant was engaged in a drug transaction. The officer saw Defendant and another person, in a public park on a weekday morning, look at a small object in the other person’s hand, then engage in a slow handshake. In response, the State argued that the facts, viewed through the officer’s “experience with the handshake as a method for concealing” drug transactions, established probable cause. “In the formation of probable cause, the stacking of inferences to achieve probable cause is impermissible.” State v. Goennier, 291 Or App 694, 699, 422 P3d 391, rev den, 363 Or 481 (2018). The Court found that, although it was reasonable for the officer to infer that the men transferred a small item, the “inference that the item was illegal narcotics” amounted to speculation. The Court held that the totality of the circumstances was insufficient to establish probable cause to arrest Defendant. Reversed and remanded.