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State v. Rhyne

Court of Appeals of Oregon

March 21, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JARED LEE RHYNE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted April 13, 2016, Ridgeview High School, Redmond.

          Douglas County Circuit Court 13CR0306FE; Ann Marie Simmons, Judge.

          Joshua B. Crowther, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. On the brief were Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Sarah Laidlaw, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Inge D. Wells, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Carson L. Whitehead, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before DeVore, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Powers, Judge. [*]

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.890(2). He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from him, arguing that police unlawfully extended a seizure of his person without reasonable suspicion. He contends that an unlawful extension, together with an unlawful seizure from him of a knife, rendered inadmissible his subsequent disclosure of methamphetamine in his pocket.

         Held: The trial court did not err. Detectives had reasonable suspicion that defendant was involved in a drug sale and an unlawful seizure of his knife did not invalidate his disclosure of his possession of methamphetamine.

         Affirmed.

         [290 Or.App. 828] DEVORE, P. J.

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.890(2). The trial court had denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained from defendant at the scene of a drug purchase arranged by a police informant. Defendant assigns error to the denial of the motion, arguing that an officer unlawfully extended a seizure of his person without reasonable suspicion as to him. He argues that an unlawful extension, together with an unlawful seizure from him of a knife, rendered inadmissible his subsequent disclosure of methamphetamine in his pocket. We conclude that detectives had reasonable suspicion that defendant was involved in a drug sale and that an unlawful seizure of his knife did not invalidate his disclosure of his possession of methamphetamine. We affirm.

         When reviewing a denial of a motion to suppress, we are bound by the trial court's findings of fact that are supported by evidence in the record. State v. Stevens, 311 Or. 119, 126, 806 P.2d 92 (1991). If the trial court did not make findings on all facts and if there is evidence from which those facts could be decided more than one way, we will presume that the trial court found facts in a way consistent with its ultimate conclusion. Id. at 127 (citing Ball v. Gladden, 250 Or. 485, 487, 443 P.2d 621 (1968)).

         On February 5, 2013, detective Scriven assisted detective Hansen in a "controlled buy-bust" that was arranged with the help of a confidential informant. Their target was Collier, from whom the informant had planned to buy 1.7 to 1.8 grams of methamphetamine. The detectives expected that someone, in addition to Collier, might be present because Collier said he would get a ride from someone to the site of the sale. Shortly before the sale, the meeting site changed a couple of times. The parties eventually settled on a Bi-Mart parking lot. There, the detectives spotted a car with a woman in the driver's seat and defendant in the front passenger seat. They saw Collier emerge from the back seat of the car and pace around some distance from the car, while making cell phone calls to the informant. Hansen called Burge, a nearby detective, to intercept Collier. Scriven and [290 Or.App. 829] Hansen approached to talk to the driver and defendant in the car.

         Based on his experience and training, Scriven believed it was common for multiple people to be present at drug transactions. He was not surprised that others accompanied Collier, because he knew that other persons either provide transportation or are the dealer from whom the drug seller gets the drugs. The person delivering the drugs may not possess the drugs. That is, the "main guy doesn't want to just give up the drugs until he has the money so he'll ride with [a 'middle-man'] so he doesn't get ripped off."

         Hansen absolutely "expected" that defendant was involved in the drug transaction because he was present in the car. Hansen suspected that defendant might be involved, as he explained later:

"It's also common for individuals to be a middle man, what we refer to as a middle man, so a drug dealer won't let his drugs, you know, go out of his sight so sometimes a drug dealer will go with the person who is a middle man, and then also people weigh their drugs in cars and use their drugs in cars, things like that. That's why we were interested in the vehicle."

         Hansen allowed that he was not "completely sure at the time, " but he suspected that defendant's presence meant that Collier was a "middle-man." Explaining that the volume of methamphetamine had something to do with it, Hansen later testified:

"A. Well, obviously, drugs are expensive and we were buying 1.8 grams, so that's a good amount of money, so what the drug dealer, depending on their trust basis, the drug dealer will sometimes let their drugs walk but generally-
"Q. When you say 'walk, ' what do you mean?
"A. Like they'll give them to somebody to take it to whoever else and then they expect that person to bring ...

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