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State v. Holdorf

Supreme Court of Oregon, En Banc

August 7, 2014

STATE OF OREGON, Petitioner on Review,
v.
JOHN LEONARD HOLDORF, JR., Respondent on Review

Argued and Submitted June 13, 2013

Page 983

On review of a decision of the Court of Appeals CC 09061153; CA A144719.  [*]

Leigh A. Salmon, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause and filed the brief for petitioner on review. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

Alice Newlin-Cushing, Deputy Public Defender, Salem, argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent on review. With her on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

OPINION

Page 984

[355 Or. 814] BALDWIN, J.

Defendant was convicted of possession of marijuana, ORS 475.864(3), and possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894, after police officers stopped him and discovered those controlled substances on him. The trial court concluded that the officer who stopped defendant had a reasonable suspicion that defendant was involved in criminal drug activity and denied defendant's motion to suppress evidence of the drugs. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion of drug activity. State v. Holdorf, 250 Or.App. 509, 280 P.3d 404 (2012).

We allowed review to determine whether, at the time of the stop, the officer had a reasonable suspicion that defendant was involved in criminal drug activity and, in particular, (1) whether the officer who stopped defendant could rely on factual information provided to him by other officers to establish " reasonable suspicion," and (2) whether the officer's observation that defendant appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine, based on the officer's training and experience, was sufficient to establish " reasonable suspicion" that defendant had committed the crime of possession of methamphetamine when considered under the totality of the circumstances. We answer those questions in the affirmative, reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

In reviewing a denial of a motion to suppress, we are bound by the trial court's findings of historical fact that are supported by evidence in the record. State v. Stevens, 311 Or. 119, 126, 806 P.2d 92 (1991). If the trial court " [does] not make findings on all pertinent historical facts and there is evidence from which those facts could be decided more than one way, we will presume that the trial court found facts in a manner consistent with its ultimate conclusion." Id. at 127 (citing Ball v. Gladden, 250 Or. 485, 487, 443 P.2d 621 (1968)). On review, our role is to decide whether the trial court correctly applied the law to those historical facts. State v. Peller, 287 Or. 255, 260, 598 P.2d 684 (1979); see also State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 80, 854 P.2d 421 (1993) (stating standard of review for " reasonable suspicion" ).

[355 Or. 815] I. BACKGROUND

Albany Police Detective Davis was on duty when he observed a blue SUV occupied by Watts, who was driving, and defendant, a passenger. Davis recognized Watts, but he did not recognize defendant. Davis was familiar with Watts as a suspect through Davis's ongoing investigation of a local methamphetamine distribution ring. Davis also had received reports about Watts from Officer Fandrem, who had observed an occupant of the same SUV engage in an apparent drug deal two weeks earlier. On a separate occasion after that observation, Fandrem had attempted to stop Watts in the SUV, but Watts eluded capture after a highspeed chase. Davis also knew that Watts had been convicted of a felony and had an outstanding warrant for violating parole.

Davis put out a call to alert other officers in the area about Watts. Albany Police Officer Salang responded to that call. Davis gave Salang a description of the vehicle and told Salang that Watts was a criminal suspect in an ongoing drug investigation. Salang knew Watts from prior encounters and knew that Watts was a convicted felon with an outstanding warrant.

Shortly thereafter, Salang spotted Watts driving the SUV. Salang followed the SUV until he observed Watts commit a traffic infraction. He then activated his overhead lights and stopped the SUV. ...


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