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State v. Stevens

Supreme Court of Oregon, En Banc

December 6, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Respondent on Review,
v.
CASSANDRA RENEE STEVENS, Petitioner on Review.

          Argued and Submitted June 27, 2018

          On review from the Court of Appeals. (CC 12CR1676FE, 12CR1963FE) (CA A156431, CAA156432) [*]

          Brett J. Allin, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, Salem, argued the cause and fled the briefs for petitioner on review. Also on the briefs was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender.

          Rolf C. Moan, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, argued the cause and fled the brief for respondent on review. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Alexander A. Wheatley, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Portland, fled the brief on behalf of amicus curiae Oregon Justice Resource Center. Also on the brief was Justin Withem, Janet Hoffman & Associates LLC, Portland.

          [364 Or. 92] Case Summary: Defendant, a passenger in a lawfully stopped vehicle, moved to suppress evidence obtained during that traffic stop after an officer made a statement regarding trouble with her parole officer if she were untruthful with him. The trial court denied defendant's motion and convicted defendant of unlawful possession of methamphetamine after a stipulated facts trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a written opinion. Held: (1) a passenger in a lawfully stopped vehicle is not stopped for purposes of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution; but (2) defendant was stopped when the officer told her during the traffic stop that there would be trouble with her parole officer if she were untruthful with him about another passenger's name.

         The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

          [364 Or. 93] KISTLER, J.

         In State v. Amaya, 336 Or. 616, 89 P.3d 1163 (2004), this court stated that stopping the driver of a car does not constitute a seizure of the passengers for the purposes of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. We allowed review in this case to decide whether that statement constituted part of the court's holding and, if it did, whether we should overrule that part of Amaya. For the reasons set out below, we conclude that our statement was part of the holding in Amaya, and we adhere to it.

         The remaining question in this case is whether defendant (a passenger in a van) was stopped without reasonable suspicion at some point during a stop of the driver. The trial court ruled that defendant was not stopped until an officer asked her for consent to search her backpack, and it accordingly denied her motion to suppress evidence discovered during the search. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's ruling but on a different ground; it determined that the stop did not occur until after defendant had consented to a search of her backpack. State v. Stevens, 286 Or.App. 306, 399 P.3d 1053 (2017). Because we hold that the stop occurred before defendant gave consent and that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion at that point, we reverse the Court of Appeals decision and the trial court's judgment.

         We take the facts from the hearing on defendant's suppression motion and state them consistently with the trial court's ruling. While on patrol, Officer Klopfenstein stopped a van because one of its headlights was out. There were three passengers in the minivan. After asking the driver for his identification, the officer asked the driver about the passengers, and the driver explained that he had just met them. Klopfenstein returned to his patrol car to ask dispatch to run a records check on the driver.

         While Klopfenstein waited for dispatch to get back to him, he approached the van a second time. On coming back to the van, Klopfenstein noticed that one of the passengers in the back seat was acting as if he were extremely intoxicated. Klopfenstein asked that passenger for identification. The passenger responded that he did not have any [364 Or. 94] identification on him but said that his name was Jonathan Shaw. When Klopfenstein asked Shaw to spell his name, Shaw gave multiple, inconsistent spellings of Jonathan. Klopfenstein asked the driver if he could open the sliding door to the back of the van so he could hear Shaw better. The driver agreed, and Klopfenstein opened the door.

         When that proved unsuccessful, Klopfenstein directed his attention toward defendant, who was sitting in the back seat next to Shaw. Klopfenstein asked defendant for her name. Defendant told him her name and added that she was on parole. When Klopfenstein asked defendant if she knew Shaw, she said that she had known him for a couple of years and that she had always known him as Jonathan Shaw. With that information, Klopfenstein returned to his patrol car to run a records check on both Shaw and defendant.

         That records check confirmed that defendant was on parole, but the photograph on file for Jonathan Shaw did not resemble the person in the van. By this time, a second officer had arrived, and Klopfenstein again returned to the van. He asked Shaw to step out of the van. According to Klopfenstein, he confronted Shaw with the fact that he did not resemble the picture of Jonathan Shaw on file with the Department of Transportation. As Klopfenstein testified, he kept "going back to [defendant] and going back to [Shaw] and going back" to defendant to find out Shaw's real name. Klopfenstein explained that his interactions with defendant were very friendly "other than initially me coming back to her saying (-Inaudible-) you're on parole. If [Shaw] has a warrant and you're telling me he's Jonathan and he's Jimmy there's going to be trouble for you * * * potentially through your P[arole] O[fficer]." After Klopfenstein implied that he would be speaking with defendant's parole officer, defendant told him Shaw's real name-Jimmy.

         At that point, a records check on Jimmy Shaw came back showing that there were no outstanding warrants. While he was away from the van and without defendant's knowledge, Klopfenstein called defendant's parole officer. During that call, the parole officer told Klopfenstein that she recently had found a backpack with pills in it and that [364 Or. 95] she thought that the pills belonged to Shaw. The parole officer explained that defendant had been with Shaw when the pills were found in the backpack and ...


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