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State v. Middleton

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 31, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
AUTUMN CHANTELKAY MIDDLETON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted March 5, 2018

          Washington County Circuit Court 16CR18092 Eric Butterfeld, Judge.

          Sara F. Werboff, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Jordan R. Silk, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Garrett, Judge, and Powers, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for possession of heroin, ORS 875.854, and possession of methamphetamine, ORS 475.894, assigning error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained after she was stopped for a traffic violation. During the stop, defendant failed to present a valid driver's license in violation of ORS 807.570(1). On appeal, defendant argues that the police unlawfully questioned her about drugs after obtaining all the information needed to cite and release her under ORS 807.570, and, thus, the evidence was discovered during an unlawful extension of the stop. Held: The trial court erred in denying defendant's motion. Defendant's stop was unlawfully extended in violation of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution when the officers failed to release her after they verified her identity.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [294 Or.App. 597] GARRETT, J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine. On appeal, defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained after she was stopped for a traffic violation. During that stop, defendant failed to present a valid driver's license when requested, a Class C misdemeanor. ORS 8O7.57O(1)(b)(A). According to defendant, the questioning about drug possession occurred after police had obtained all of the information that they needed to cite and release her for failing to present her driver's license, and thus the evidence was discovered during an unlawful extension of the stop. We conclude that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion and, accordingly, reverse and remand.

         We review a trial court's denial of a motion to suppress for legal error. State v. Parnell, 278 Or.App. 260, 261, 373 P.3d 1252 (2016) (citing State v. Farrar, 252 Or.App. 256, 257, 287 P.3d 1124 (2012)). If the trial court's findings are supported by evidence in the record, we are bound by those findings. Id. (quoting State v. Regnier, 229 Or.App. 525, 527, 212 P.3d 1269 (2009)). If the trial court did not make express findings of fact, we "presume that the facts were decided in a manner consistent with the trial court's ultimate findings." Id.

         The following facts are based on testimony presented at the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress. After observing defendant run a stop sign, Officer Henderson initiated a traffic stop, approached defendant's car, and asked to see her driver's license. Defendant said that she did not have her driver's license with her. Defendant did, however, provide her name, date of birth, and driver's license number from memory, as well as an insurance card. Henderson then asked defendant's passenger, Perkin, for his identification. Perkin provided two credit cards with his name on them and recited his date of birth.

         Henderson returned to his vehicle to conduct a records check of both defendant and Perkin. The records check revealed that there was an outstanding arrest [294 Or.App. 598] warrant for Perkin and an order prohibiting Perkin from having contact with defendant. As for defendant, Henderson concluded that she had provided seemingly accurate information, although Henderson did not believe he could sufficiently verify her identity without photo identification.

         Henderson called for a second officer to help arrest Perkin. While waiting for that officer to arrive, Henderson continued to attempt to confirm both defendant's and Perkin's identity and reviewed Perkin's warrant and no-contact order. When Officer Sery arrived, the officers arrested Perkin.

         As Henderson processed Perkin's arrest, Sery stood behind defendant's car to observe defendant, who was still seated in the vehicle. Sery saw defendant reach down towards the center console and appear to take a small item from her purse and place it in her bra. Believing that defendant was concealing evidence or contraband, Sery asked defendant about the item. Defendant told him that it was lipstick and that she was "trying to fix her bra." Sery relayed to Henderson what he had seen. At that ...


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