Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Garcia-Cruz

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 30, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
LUIS PAUL GARCIA-CRUZ, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted March 16, 2016

         Washington County Circuit Court C132154CR; Eric Butterfeld, Judge.

          Anne Fujita Munsey, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the briefs was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Jonathan Zunkel-deCoursey, Certifed Law Student, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Paul L. Smith, Deputy Solicitor General, and Patrick M. Ebbett, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before Garrett, Presiding Judge, and Shorr, Judge, and Haselton, Senior Judge. [*]

         [287 Or.App. 517] Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment convicting him of one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. ORS 475.894. On appeal, defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence found in a folded piece of paper in his wallet during an inventory of his possessions conducted after his arrest. Defendant contends that the trial court erroneously concluded that the folded paper revealed its contents to the offcer such that opening it was not a search that required a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. Held: The trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress. The folded paper did not reveal its contents to the offcer. The state did not provide evidence that folded paper is a container that is invariably used to store and transport methamphet-amine, and the contents of the folded paper were not revealed to the offcer by the paper's feel.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [287 Or.App. 518] SHORR, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment convicting him of one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. ORS 475.894. After being arrested on a probation violation, an officer found methamphetamine in a folded piece of paper in defendant's wallet during an inventory of defendant's possessions. On appeal, defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the evidence that the officer found in that piece of paper. Specifically, defendant argues that the folded paper was not a container that by its nature revealed its contents to the officer and, while the officer may have had probable cause to believe that the paper contained methamphetamine, opening the paper was a search under Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. Accordingly, the officer needed either a warrant or a well-established exception to the warrant requirement-both of which, the state concedes, are lacking in this case-to justify his actions. We agree with defendant that the folded paper did not by its very nature reveal its contents. Therefore, because the officer opened the paper and conducted that search without a warrant or under an exception to the warrant requirement, we reverse and remand.

         We are bound by the trial court's findings of historical fact that are supported by constitutionally sufficient evidence in the record, and, if findings of historical facts are not made on all pertinent issues and there is evidence from which such facts could be decided in more than one way, we will presume that the facts were decided in a manner consistent with the court's ultimate conclusion. State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). We recite the following undisputed facts consistently with that standard.

         Defendant was arrested by Beaverton Police Officer Andler for a probation violation for consuming alcohol. After Andler arrested defendant, Andler performed a search incident to arrest during which he removed a wallet from defendant's pocket. Andler did not search the wallet at that time. After Andler's search was complete, he transported defendant to the Beaverton Police Department where he processed defendant following the department's normal procedures for processing a defendant after an arrest.

         [287 Or.App. 519] When Andler was processing defendant, he undertook an inventory of defendant's property pursuant to the Beaverton Police Department's inventory policy. Under that policy, officers are required to conduct an inspection of defendants' wallets to document anything of value inside. However, as the state stipulated at a suppression hearing on the matter, that policy does not allow officers to open closed containers, including folded pieces of paper, found in wallets. Pursuant to that policy, Andler inspected defendant's wallet to inventory any valuables inside.

         After opening defendant's wallet, Andler found and opened two folded pieces of paper that appeared to contain objects. One of those pieces of paper contained computer memory sticks. The other piece of paper contained metham-phetamine. Based on that discovery of methamphetamine, defendant was also then charged with possession of methamphetamine and lodged at the Washington County Jail.

         Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence that Andler discovered when he opened up the folded paper that contained methamphetamine. In that motion, defendant argued that (1) Andler's opening of the folded paper was not authorized under the inventory policy; (2) that conduct constituted a search for the purposes of Article I, section 9; and (3) that search was unlawful in that it was undertaken without a warrant and did not fall within any exception to the warrant requirement. In response, the state argued that, although Andler was not allowed to open the folded paper as part of his inventory process, the paper, by its very nature, revealed its contents when Andler felt it, and, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.