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. Cleland

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 20, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
GREGORY JAMES CLELAND, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted September 26, 2017

         Marion County Circuit Court 15CR45171; Claudia M. Burton, Judge.

          Sarah De La Cruz, 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.

          Christopher A. Perdue, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and James, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for possession of methamphetamine. ORS 475.894. He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the evidence of the methamphetamine, which was found in a small electronics case belonging to defendant during a warrantless inventory search that was conducted pursuant to defendant's arrest on an unrelated matter. He argues that the search was not authorized by the Salem Police Department's inventory policy, and therefore violated Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. Defendant alternatively argues that the policy is unconstitutionally overbroad under Article I, section 9. Held: The trial court did not err. Cases for small electronics fall within the scope of "closed containers" designed for holding "other valuables" that are subject to search under the policy. Given their typical expense, small electronics represent a category of property that have the potential to subject police to claims for loss or damage and, thus, [289 Or.App. 380] constitute "valuables." Furthermore, the level of discretionary judgment involved in determining what constitutes a "valuable" does not render an inventory policy unconstitutionally overbroad under Article I, section 9.

         Affrmed.

         [289 Or.App. 381] LAGESEN, P. J.

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894, and menacing, ORS 163.190. He seeks reversal of the conviction for possession, assigning error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the evidence of the methamphetamine. The methamphetamine was discovered during an inventory search of defendant's belongings after the Salem Police arrested him for menacing. Defendant contends that the search was not authorized by the Salem Police Department's inventory policy and violated Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution, for that reason. Alternatively, defendant argues that the Salem Police Department's inventory policy is unconstitutionally overbroad and that the search violated Article I, section 9, for that reason. Accepting the trial court's supported factual findings and reviewing for legal error, State v. Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993), we affirm.

         We state the facts-which are few-in accordance with the trial court's explicit and implicit findings. The search at issue was conducted under a provision of the Salem Police Department's inventory policy. The pertinent part of the policy states:

"A. An inventory of personal property found during the search of any subject taken into police custody shall include the opening of any closed containers found in the possession of the subject in police custody under the following circumstances:
"1. The closed container is designed for holding U.S. currency, coins, and/or other valuables, including but not limited to, purses, coin purses, wallets, fanny packs, backpacks, briefcases, and jewelry pouches [.]"

         The policy further explains that its purpose, among other things, is to "[i]dentify and protect the property while it is in police custody" and to "[r] educe or eliminate false claims against the police for damage to or loss of the property." Applying that policy, Salem Police Officer Adams opened a hard, black, nylon case that he found in defendant's backpack [289 Or.App. 382] upon defendant's arrest.[1] From its outward appearance, the case looked to be a container for holding a small external computer hard drive or a small video game console, such as a Nintendo Game Boy.

         In denying defendant's motion to suppress, the trial court concluded that the search of the case was authorized by the policy because, from an objective standpoint, it appeared to be "designed for" holding small electronics. The court reasoned that small electronics are "valuables" under our en banc decision in State v. Johnson, 153 Or.App. 535, 958 P.2d 887, rev den, 327 Or. 554 (1998), in which we upheld an inventory search of a briefcase on the ground that a briefcase is the type of container that typically contains "articles like money, credit cards, valuable papers, a lap top computer or a calculator." Id. at 542. The court rejected defendant's alternative argument that the policy was unconstitutionally overbroad because it gives officers too much discretion as to what closed containers to search, such that searches conducted under it violate Article I, section 9. Defendant challenges both components of the court's ruling on appeal.

         As to whether the search was authorized by the policy, the policy, by its terms, requires the search of any closed container "designed for" holding valuables. The policy does not define the term "valuables, " but it does include a short list-"U.S. currency, coins"-and also includes examples of types of containers that can be searched for "valuables, " including "fanny packs, backpacks, [and] briefcases." Although cases for small electronics are not on the list, the list is not exclusive. We conclude that cases for small electronics fall within the scope of "closed containers" designed for holding "other valuables." This is consistent with the policy's stated purpose-to protect property and to guard against false claims for damage or loss of property. Given their typical expense, small electronics represent a category of property that has the potential to subject police to claims for loss or ...


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.