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State v. Goennier

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 9, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
COREY ANDREW GOENNIER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted August 23, 2017

          Washington County Circuit Court C151734CR, D. Charles Bailey, Jr., Judge.

          Sara F. Werboff, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Office of Public Defense Services.

          David B. Thompson, 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 unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, ORS 475.890(2); and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894. On appeal, defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless search of his vehicle. Defendant argues that the officer lacked probable cause-as mandated by the automobile exception to the warrant requirement of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution-to search his vehicle. Held: The trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress. Based on defendant's movements, demeanor, and knowledge of the contents of the passenger's bag-which included narcotics and packaging materials-the totality of the circumstances indicated that it was more likely than not that evidence of a crime would be be located in defendant's vehicle.

         Affirmed.

         [291 Or.App. 695] JAMES, J.

         Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for unlawful delivery of methamphetamine involving substantial quantities, ORS 475.890(2), and unlawful possession of methamphetamine involving substantial quantities, ORS 475.894, assigning error to the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress the evidence obtained from a warrantless search of his vehicle. Defendant argues the officer's search pursuant to the automobile exception lacked probable cause that the vehicle would contain evidence of narcotics distribution.[1] The state argues that probable cause existed when defendant's truck was searched. We agree with the state and accordingly affirm.

         "In reviewing a denial of a motion to suppress, we are bound by the trial court's findings of historical fact that are supported by evidence in the record." State v. Holdorf, 355 Or. 812, 814, 333 P.3d 982 (2014). "We state the facts consistently with the trial court's explicit and implicit factual findings, which the record supports." State v. Keller, 280 Or.App. 249, 250, 380 P.3d 1144 (2016). The facts of the encounter that led to the warrantless search of defendant's vehicle are not disputed. Defendant was in his pickup truck when he was stopped for a traffic infraction. Upon Officer Lutu's contact with defendant, Lutu asked defendant for his license, registration, and insurance. Lutu observed that defendant looked extremely nervous. Defendant's hands were trembling, he was sweating profusely, he did not make eye contact, and he stuttered when he spoke. Lutu also saw defendant's hands drop from his view; he could not see defendant's hands because defendant was driving a truck and Lutu is "not a very tall person."

         Defendant, at some point during the initial contact, turned towards his center console twice in a manner Lutu described as an attempt to "shield" what defendant was doing at the center console from Lutu. Defendant also [291 Or.App. 696] appeared to reach underneath the driver's seat. Defendant said he did not have his license with him, but produced valid insurance for the vehicle and told Lutu that the vehicle was recently purchased from a friend. When defendant provided his name and date of birth, his response was slow, he stuttered when giving the officer his social security number, and could not remember the address associated with his license, all of which caused Lutu to believe that the information being provided was false.

         Lutu testified that, at that point in the encounter, based on defendant's behavior, he subjectively believed that defendant was probably trying to hide drugs. Lutu returned to his vehicle and confirmed that the identifying information defendant provided was in fact correct and the vehicle belonged to defendant. Lutu also radioed for a second car. At some point before Lutu initiated defendant's arrest, Lutu asked defendant if he had any marijuana in the car. Defendant answered no, but the passenger volunteered that she possessed some marijuana. After that disclosure, Lutu asked defendant to step out of the car to arrest him for failure to carry and present a license. Defendant did not comply, and Lutu believed that he then had probable cause to arrest him for interfering with a police officer. Once defendant was removed from the vehicle, Lutu asked him if there were any guns, drugs, or legal documents in the vehicle, and asked for permission to search the truck. Defendant did not consent to a search of his vehicle, but said, "[y]ou can search her purse, she's the one with the dirty rigs and the marijuana." Defendant said he did not know why Lutu wanted to search the vehicle, and Lutu asked if anybody else drove the vehicle. Defendant told Lutu that only he and one other person drove the truck.

         During the arrest of defendant, a second officer had arrived at the scene and was questioning the passenger. At some point after defendant suggested that Lutu search the passenger's purse, Lutu contacted the passenger. The passenger was still in the vehicle, in the passenger seat, with her feet on a black bag on the floor and a small purse on her lap. Lutu mentioned that defendant had said that the passenger had dirty syringes. The passenger said that she was [291 Or.App. 697] diabetic and ...


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