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State v. Wiggins

Court of Appeals of Oregon

April 23, 2014

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
CRYSTAL DAWN WIGGINS, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted January 29, 2014.

Linn County Circuit Court. 11040663. James C. Egan, Judge.

David Sherbo-Huggins, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

Patrick M. Ebbett, Senior Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

Before Duncan*, Presiding Judge, and Haselton*, Chief Judge, and Schuman[*], Senior Judge.*


Page 627

[262 Or.App. 353] HASELTON, C. J.

Defendant, who entered a conditional plea of no contest, ORS 135.335(3),[1] for possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894, appeals the resulting judgment, assigning error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence. We agree with defendant that she was stopped in violation of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution [2] no later than when a police officer, in the absence of reasonable suspicion, ordered her to move away fro the vehicle that she had been driving and that the evidence that she seeks to suppress was the unattenuated product of that illegality. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress and reverse and remand.

We review the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress for errors of law. State v. Ehly, 317 Ore 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). In doing so, we are bound by the trial court's express and implicit factual findings if there is constitutionally sufficient evidence in the record to support them. Id. We state the facts in accordance with that standard.

On April 7, 2011, Aaron Davis, a City of Albany police officer with approximately seven and one-half years of " narcotics detective experience," was working with Hutch, his " narcotics detection trained police canine." [3] During the lunch hour, Davis pulled his unmarked

Page 628

vehicle into a parking lot at a public park to give Hutch a " break." Davis's view of pedestrians and vehicles entering the park from NE Waverly Drive was barred by a " jersey wall" until they had almost entered the parking lot, as was their view of his vehicle.[4]

[262 Or.App. 354] While Hutch was taking his break, Davis noticed another vehicle parked " at the edge of the park with a single male occupant." Davis ran " a records check." He recognized the name of the vehicle's registered owner as that of a " reported * * * dealer of methamphetamine," but Davis could not determine whether the male occupant was the registered owner. At that point, Davis, who was wearing a uniform, saw a female--later identified as " Shawna" --" clear[ ] the edge of the jersey wall." Shawna looked in Davis's direction.[5] Then, " all at once" the vehicle that had been in the park left and a second vehicle driven by defendant " quickly pull[ed] up" and " pick[ed] up" Shawna and left the park traveling southbound on NE Waverly Drive. Based on what he had just observed, Davis believed that he " potentially had interrupted a drug deal."

Davis left the park, located the vehicle that defendant was driving, and followed it. Davis did not observe defendant commit any traffic infractions. He " ran" the vehicle's license plate number and learned that its " female registered owner * * * had a court ordered driver's suspension history for drugs."

After taking a circuitous route, defendant stopped at a house, which Davis recognized because, several years before, he had " processed a methamphetamine lab" there and, on a separate occasion, had " seized * * * drug evidence" from the house. Shawna got out of the vehicle and entered the house. According to Davis, based on his training and experience, it is common for a house in which methamphetamine has been manufactured to continue to be associated with " drug activity."

Defendant drove away. Davis followed but did not activate his lights or otherwise require defendant to stop the vehicle.

Eventually, defendant parked the vehicle at her apartment complex next to a dumpster. Davis parked his car [262 Or.App. 355] " parallel" to and " approximately 30 feet" away from defendant's vehicle.

When defendant got out of the car, Davis asked her about her route of travel and what she was up to. According to Davis, defendant explained that she had given her friend Shawna--whose last name defendant did not know--a ride after Shawna had called her from a pay phone. Davis thought that response was " odd" because the nearest pay phone was " about a quarter mile away and in the opposite direction" of where he had first seen Shawna. Davis also indicated to defendant that he " suspect[ed] drug activity" and asked defendant whether she used drugs and whether she owned the vehicle that she had been driving. According to Davis, defendant " admitted to the previous use of both methamphetamine and marijuana" but told him that it " had ...

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