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State v. Blackstone

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 20, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JESSE TAYLOR BLACKSTONE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted December 21, 2016

         Lane County Circuit Court 231425319; A159279 Debra K. Vogt, Judge.

          Emily P. Seltzer, 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 Aoyagi, Judge. [*]

         [289 Or.App. 422] Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals his conviction for possession of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a restricted weapon, based on the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. While defendant was riding a bicycle late at night, an officer stopped him for two unrelated reasons: a traffic violation, and suspicion of burglary. During the course of the stop, the officer conducted an officer safety patdown and found a methamphetamine pipe and a butterfly knife in defendant's pockets. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress that evidence, arguing that the patdown occurred during an unlawful extension of a lawful traffic stop. Specifically, defendant argued that the officer unlawfully extended the traffic stop to investigate a potential burglary, without reasonable suspicion that defendant had committed the crime of burglary. The state argued that the officer had reasonable suspicion of burglary or, alternatively, that the officer had not yet begun the burglary investigation at the time of the patdown. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. Held: The state failed to prove that defendant was lawfully stopped at the time of the patdown. The state therefore could not rely on the officer safety exception to avoid suppression of the evidence.

         Reversed and remanded.

          [289 Or.App. 423]

          AOYAGI, J.

         Defendant appeals his conviction for possession of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. Late one night, two police offers were parked in a patrol car on Coburg Road in Eugene, watching for two young males on foot who had fled at the sight of a police car approximately a half hour earlier, carrying bulky pillowcases that suggested a possible residential burglary. Defendant rode toward the patrol car on a bicycle. One of the officers stepped out of the patrol car and stopped defendant. He did so for two reasons-because defendant was bicycling without a headlight, which is a traffic violation, and because he suspected defendant of burglary based on defendant "vaguely" matching the description of one of the males seen earlier. The stop lasted six minutes. During the stop, defendant began reaching into his pockets repeatedly. That behavior led the officer to conduct an officer safety patdown, which in turn led to the seizure of a methamphetamine pipe and a butterfly knife. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress that evidence on the ground that, at the time of the patdown, the officer had unlawfully extended a lawful traffic stop to investigate another crime, burglary, without reasonable suspicion. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. Defendant was subsequently convicted. We conclude that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress and therefore reverse and remand.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         We review the denial of a motion to suppress for errors of law. State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). In doing so, we are bound by the trial court's express and implicit factual findings, so long as there is constitutionally sufficient evidence in the record to support them. Id. We state the facts in accordance with that standard.

         II. FACTS

         Around 1:40 a.m. on a December night, Officer Meador drove by two young males standing on the sidewalk at the corner of Coburg Road and Jeppesen Acres Road in Eugene. That area is primarily residential, but there also are businesses up and down Coburg Road. The two young males [289 Or.App. 424] were carrying pillowcases that appeared to be full of objects, and, upon seeing Meador, they sprinted away. No crimes had been reported in the area, but Meador suspected a possible burglary. On the police radio, Meador described the two suspects and, believing they might be hiding in a backyard in the area, requested that other officers assist in setting up a perimeter to try to locate them. Meador described the two suspects as white males in their late teens or early 20s. He described the first suspect as being of medium build and wearing a black beanie cap, a light grey or white t-shirt, and unknown pants. He did not get a good view of the second suspect and described him only as wearing a "darker jacket or hoody."

         Officer Salsbury heard Meador's request and his description of the two young males over the radio. Within one to five minutes of hearing the call, Salsbury parked his patrol car at the corner of Coburg Road and Elysium Street, about a block away from where Meador had seen the suspects. Another officer, Lindsay, was with him in the car.

         About thirty minutes later, at 2:14 a.m., Salsbury and Lindsay saw defendant riding a bicycle down Elysium Street toward Coburg Road, directly toward their patrol car. Salsbury thought that defendant "vaguely" matched the description of the second suspect. He was a white male, looked "at a distance at night" like ...


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