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State v. Carson

Court of Appeals of Oregon

September 7, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DARECUS MAURICE CARSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted March 28, 2016

         Multnomah County Circuit Court 140444271; Gregory F. Silver, Judge.

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

          Susan Yorke, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Paul L. Smith, Deputy Solicitor General.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants, ORS 813.010. Defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence discovered following a traffic stop for impeding traffic under ORS 811.130. Defendant argues that the underlying traffic stop was not supported by probable cause, because his conduct did not violate ORS 811.130. Held: Defendant impeded or blocked the normal and reasonable movement of traffic by completely stopping and blocking a lane of travel; therefore, the officer had probable cause to stop defendant.

         Affirmed.

         [287 Or. 632] EGAN, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), ORS 813.010. Defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence, asserting that the underlying traffic stop was not supported by probable cause. We conclude, as did the trial court, that there was probable cause to stop defendant. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in denying the suppression motion, and we affirm.

         The relevant facts are undisputed. On April 18, 2014, around 9:40 p.m., Officer Louka was driving an unmarked police car in downtown Portland. While headed north on Northwest Second Avenue, a one-way street with two lanes, Louka drove up behind defendant's car, which was completely stopped in the right lane of traffic just before an intersection. There was no stop sign or traffic light at the intersection, and no pedestrians were crossing in front of defendant's car. Defendant's vehicle did not have a turn signal or hazard lights on.

         Although Louka could have pulled into the left lane and driven around defendant's car, he instead pulled up behind the car and waited for approximately five seconds. Defendant's vehicle did not move, and, at that point, Louka's partner sounded the air horn on the police vehicle. The officers waited another few seconds, and because there was no movement by defendant's vehicle, Louka activated his police vehicle lights, got out of his vehicle, and approached defendant at the driver's side window. Louka believed when he got out of his car and walked toward defendant's vehicle that defendant was impeding traffic. See ORS 811.130.[1]

         Louka asked defendant why he was stopped in the middle of the road. Defendant replied that he "thought there was a stop sign there." Louka observed that defendant's speech was "unusually slow, " and that defendant had glassy, watery, and bloodshot eyes, and appeared to be looking past him. Based on his training and experience, Louka [287 Or. 633] believed that defendant was likely impaired by some type of intoxicant.

         Defendant's car started rolling forward; Louka told him to stop and asked for his driver's license. After that, Louka called for a traffic unit to come to the scene to investigate defendant for DUII. Defendant was ultimately arrested and charged with DUII.

         Before trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress his identity and all other evidence obtained as a result of the stop, including any statements made by him. At the hearing on the motion, the state argued, in part, that Louka had probable cause to stop defendant for impeding traffic in violation of ORS 811.130. Defendant asserted that, although Louka had "subjective probable cause" of a traffic violation, his subjective ...


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