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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 6, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JON SHERMAN JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted September 19, 2016

         Linn County Circuit Court 13CR00084; A158089 Thomas McHill, Judge.

          Erin J. Snyder Severe, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Timothy A. Sylwester, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Egan, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Schuman, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants, ORS 813.010, and one count of driving while suspended or revoked, ORS 811.182. He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence acquired during the course of the traffic stop. Defendant contends that the officer who stopped him did so based on a mistaken interpretation of ORS 811.505 (1) (a), the statute requiring a driver "emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway in a business or residence district" to stop "before driving onto the sidewalk or sidewalk area." Defendant, who was observed emerging from a parking lot without stopping before driving onto the sidewalk, contends that the statute does not apply to motorists exiting from parking lots, and that the officer therefore lacked probable cause to stop him for purposes of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. Held: The dictionary definitions of "driveway" fairly encompass the portion of the parking lot from which the officer observed defendant emerge without stopping because the portion of the parking lot from which defendant emerged gives motorists driving [286 Or.App. 563] their cars access to the business from the street, making it a driveway under the ordinary meaning of the word. Thus, the facts as the officer perceived them constituted a violation of ORS 811.505 (1) (a) .

         Affirmed. [286 Or.App. 564]

          LAGESEN, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants, ORS 813.010, and one count of driving while suspended or revoked, ORS 811.182. He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence acquired during the course of the traffic stop. Defendant contends that the officer who stopped him did so based on a mistaken interpretation of ORS 811.505. That statute requires a driver "emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway in a business or residence district" to stop "before driving onto the sidewalk or sidewalk area." Defendant, who was observed emerging from a parking lot without stopping before driving onto the sidewalk, contends that the statute does not apply to motorists exiting from parking lots, and that the officer therefore lacked probable cause to stop him for purposes of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. See State v. Stookey, 255 Or.App. 489, 491, 297 P.3d 548 (2013) (where facts perceived by officer do not constitute an offense, officer lacks probable cause to conduct a stop under Article I, section 9); State v. Tiffin, 202 Or.App. 199, 203-04, 121 P.3d 9 (2005) ("[A]n officer's subjective belief that a traffic infraction occurred is objectively reasonable if, and only if, the facts as the officer perceived them actually satisfy the elements of a traffic infraction."). We conclude otherwise and affirm.

         We review the denial of a motion to suppress for legal error, accepting the facts as found by the trial court, so long as there is constitutionally sufficient evidence in the record to support the findings. State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993); State v. Davis, 282 Or.App. 660, 666, 385 P.3d 1253 (2016). To the extent that the trial court did not make findings on a particular issue, and there is evidence from which the facts could be found more than one way, we presume that the trial court found the facts consistently with its ultimate determination. Ball v. Gladden, 250 Or. 485, 487, 443 P.2d 621 (1968). We state the facts-which are few-in accordance with that standard.

         Officer Ledford of the Albany Police observed defendant drive out of the vehicle exit of the Dari Mart parking lot without stopping before driving onto the sidewalk. Instead of [286 Or.App. 565] stopping before driving onto the sidewalk, defendant stopped in the middle of it. As illustrated by the photographs that the state submitted in opposition to defendant's motion to suppress, one of which we have reproduced in an appendix to this opinion, the Dari Mart parking lot wraps around the Dari Mart store. A portion of the parking lot adjacent to the store is demarcated by lines signaling parking spaces, indicating that that part of the parking lot is for parking. The rest of the parking lot-that is, the part containing no demarcated parking spaces-consists of unmarked blacktop, indicating that that portion of the parking lot is for driving between the parking spaces and the parking lot's entrance-and-exit. The entrance-and-exit is designated by a gap in a concrete curb along the perimeter of the parking lot. Visually, the set-up suggests to motorists wishing to shop at the Dari Mart that they should enter the demarcated entrance-and-exit, drive along the unmarked portion of the pavement to a parking place, park, exit their vehicles, and go into the store. A driver wishing to leave the Dari Mart presumably would invert that sequence, departing the store by pulling out of a marked parking space, driving along the unmarked portion of pavement meant for driving to the entrance-and-exit, and then pulling onto the street. And that is exactly what Ledford observed defendant do. Defendant drove out of the parking lot through the demarcated entrance-and-exit from the portion of the parking lot apparently intended for driving, rather than parking. Believing defendant to be in violation of ORS 811.505 for not stopping before he drove onto the sidewalk, Ledford pulled defendant over.

         The issue on appeal is whether defendant's conduct in driving out of the parking lot, as observed by Ledford, constituted a violation of ORS 811.505. If not, then Ledford lacked probable cause to stop defendant and defendant's motion to suppress should have been granted. Stookey, 255 Or.App. at 496 (where conduct perceived by officer did not constitute a violation of law, officer lacked probable cause to stop the defendant).[1] ORS 811.505 states: [286 Or.App. 566]

"(1) A person commits the offense of failure to stop when emerging from an alley, driveway or building if the person is operating a vehicle that is emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway in a business or residence district and the person does not stop the vehicle as follows:
"(a) If there is a sidewalk or sidewalk area, the person must stop the vehicle before driving onto the sidewalk ...

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