State v. Keck

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 09-27-2023
  • Case #: A174471
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J., for the Court; Powers, J.; & Hellman, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To establish that an officer had reasonable suspicion, “[a] court (1) must find that the officer actually suspected that the stopped person had committed a specific crime or type of crime or was about to commit a specific crime or type of crime, and (2) must conclude, based on the record, that the officer[’s] subjective belief was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances existing at the time of the stop.” State v. Maciel-Figueroa, 361 Or 163, 182, 189 P3d 1121 (2017).

Defendant appealed from a conviction for felon in possession of a firearm. Defendant was pulled over for a traffic violation, then Officer McBride saw the handle of a knife tucked between the driver and passenger seats. Officer contacted dispatch and was informed that defendant was on probation for assault. When Officer asked defendant if he had any other weapons, defendant told officer that he had a revolver in the floorboard in the back seat. At trial, defendant moved to suppress all the evidence obtained as a result of the search. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of this motion. The parties’ dispute focused on whether McBride’s actions were permitted by officer-safety concerns or reasonable suspicion. On appeal, defendant argued that McBride’s mistaken belief that defendant was on probation for assault nor the observation of the handle of the knife were sufficient to raise probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The state argued in response that the court properly concluded that McBride’s observation of what he believed to be a dagger gave him objectively reasonable officer-safety concerns that justified asking defendant about weapons. Additionally, the state contended that McBride was justified by reasonable suspicion, which justified taking steps to further investigate. Defendant also argued that his “wholly cooperative and calm” demeanor indicated that no officer safety concerns justified handcuffing or patting him down, despite the presence of the knife. The Court found that the evidence supported a conclusion that McBride reasonably suspected that defendant was carrying a restricted weapon and therefore had independent constitutional justification to investigate. 328 Or App 296, 303 (2023). Additionally, the Court found that reasonable suspicion and officer-safety concerns justified McBride’s actions. AFFIRMED.

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