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In re K.A.M.

Supreme Court of Oregon

September 14, 2017

In the Matter of K.A.M., a Youth.
v.
K.A.M., Petitioner on Review. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent on Review,

          Argued and submitted May 12, 2017

         On review from the Court of Appeals CC 070424JB; CA A154130 [*]

          Christa Obold-Eshleman, Portland, argued the cause and fled the briefs for petitioner on review.

          Jonathan N. Schildt, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause and fled the brief for respondent on review. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Marsha Levick, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Roy Pulvers, Holland & Knight LLP, Portland, fled the brief for amicus curiae Juvenile Law Center.

          Before Balmer, Chief Justice, and Kistler, Walters, Landau, Nakamoto, Flynn, and Duncan, Justices. [**]

         [361 Or. 806] Case Summary:

         Youth moved to suppress evidence obtained after an officer entered a bedroom, told youth's companion that she needed to "stay off the meth, " asked their names, and then asked youth and his companion whether they had anything illegal on them. Youth argued that the officer's actions constituted an unlawful stop for purposes of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. The trial court denied youth's motion, finding that no stop had occurred. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

         Held:

         Under the circumstances, youth reasonably concluded that the officer had stopped him. The officer's unexplained entry into the bedroom and his accusation that the companion was using or had recently used methamphetamine conveyed that the companion and youth were suspected of illegal drug use and were not free to leave until the officer had completed his inquiry. In addition, the presence of multiple officers in the house, as well as the officer's question whether they had anything illegal on them, added to the coercive pressure.

         The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court.

         [361 Or. 807] KISTLER, J.

         The question in this case is whether youth was stopped during the search of a drug house when a detective came upon youth and a friend in one of the bedrooms, told youth's friend to "stay off the meth, " asked them their names, and then asked whether they had anything illegal on them. Because the trial court ruled that no stop occurred, it denied youth's motion to suppress evidence discovered during the encounter. The Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, agreeing that no stop had occurred. State v. K.A.M., 279 Or.App. 191, 379 P.3d 686 (2016). Because we conclude that a stop occurred, we reverse the Court of Appeals decision and the trial court's judgment. We remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

         We take the facts from the hearing on youth's suppression motion and state them consistently with the trial court's ruling.[1] Five Medford police and probation officers were conducting a "parole sweep, " looking for persons who had violated their probation or parole. The officers had information that a suspected parole violator was in a single-family house on 11th Street and went to the house looking for her. A person who had rented the house gave the officers permission to look through it. One of the officers, Detective Schwab, testified that the house was a known drug house. When asked to describe the condition of the house, Schwab testified that it was ...


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