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State v. Sigfridson

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 26, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
CASE DAVID SIGFRIDSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted March 9, 2017

         Douglas County Circuit Court 14CR1900FE; A160192 William A. Marshall, 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.

          Susan G. Howe, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before DeVore, Presiding Judge, and Garrett, Judge, and Duncan, Judge pro tempore.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction on one count of possession of heroin, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress physical evidence-a syringe, a "cooker, " and a small plastic baggie and its contents-that was discovered by a sheriff's deputy while taking defendant into custody on a probation violation. The trial court ruled that the items were discovered as the result of questioning that violated defendant's Miranda rights, but it concluded that the evidence inevitably would have been discovered as part of a search incident to arrest. On appeal, defendant argues that the state failed to develop a sufficient record to support the trial court's ruling on inevitable discovery.

         Held: The state's arguments regarding inevitable discovery required impermissible speculation. Even assuming that the arresting officer would have conducted a lawful patdown for weapons in the absence of the Miranda violation, there was no evidence in the record that, during that hypothetical patdown, the officer would have believed that the object in defendant's sweatshirt was a capped needle, or that the "cooker" in his pants was a weapon of some kind, such that [287 Or.App. 75] he could have reached into defendant's pockets. Because the record supported, at most, a conclusion that the officer might have lawfully discovered the physical evidence during a patdown of defendant, the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress that evidence based on the doctrine of inevitable discovery.

         Reversed and remanded.

          [287 Or.App. 76]

          DUNCAN, J. pro tempore

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction on one count of possession of heroin, ORS 475.854, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress physical evidence-a syringe, a "cooker, " and a small plastic baggie and its contents-that was discovered by a sheriff's deputy while taking defendant into custody on a probation violation. The trial court ruled that the items were discovered as the result of questioning that violated defendant's Miranda rights, but it concluded that the evidence inevitably would have been discovered as part of a search incident to arrest. For the reasons that follow, we agree with defendant that the state failed to develop a sufficient record to support the trial court's ruling on inevitable discovery, and we therefore reverse and remand.

         We review a trial court's denial of a defendant's motion to suppress for errors of law, and we are bound by the trial court's findings of fact, provided that they are supported by constitutionally sufficient evidence. State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 74-75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). In this case, the relevant chronology of events is mostly undisputed.[1] In December 2013, Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Dorland responded to a 9-1-1 call about a possible heroin overdose. When Dorland arrived, defendant, who was the subject of the call, was standing and talking with an ambulance crew. Defendant appeared to Dorland to be intoxicated from alcohol; he displayed red, watery eyes and slurred speech, and he was swaying while talking to Dorland.

         Defendant told Dorland that he was not having a medical issue but had just had too much to drink. Thereafter, Dorland contacted police dispatch and asked them to run defendant's name for "wants and warrants." Dorland learned from dispatch that defendant was "on probation with a no alcohol clause" and that defendant's probation officer wanted him to be detained. At that point, Dorland intended to arrest defendant based on the probation violation.

         [287 Or.App. 77] Dorland asked defendant whether he had "anything illegal" on him, and defendant responded that he did not. Dorland followed up by asking whether he could search him to make sure, and defendant refused to consent. Defendant's family members, who were gathered at the scene, began urging defendant to allow a search.

         Eventually, defendant admitted that he possessed drug paraphernalia.[2] Dorland took defendant into custody and asked him where the illegal paraphernalia was located, and whether there were any needles that would poke him. Defendant then disclosed that there was a "capped needle in his front left sweatshirt pocket, " and that "he had a cooker in his pants pocket and some cleaning swabs."[3]

         Dorland searched defendant and located those items in the places that defendant had identified: There was a capped but used syringe in the left pocket of his sweatshirt, the bottom of a Pepsi can with a dark residue in his right pants pocket, and a plastic baggie filled with unused cotton swabs. The Pepsi can and a small piece of plastic in the ...


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