In the Matter of A. S., a Youth.
A. S., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
and submitted April 26, 2018.
Multnomah County Circuit Court 16JU08126; Petition Number
161004186; Katherine E. Tennyson, Judge.
T. Smith argued the cause and fled the reply brief for
appellant. On the opening brief was Kevin J. Ellis.
W. Wilsey, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for
respondent. Also on the brief was Ellen F. Rosenblum,
Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.
Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and Linder,
Summary: Youth appeals a judgment fnding him within the
jurisdiction of the juvenile court for acts that, if
committed by an adult, would constitute one count of unlawful
possession of a frearm. Youth assigns error to the trial
court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence of a
gun that police found in his room when they searched it based
on consent given by youth's grandmother, arguing that the
consent was invalid because youth was physically there and
expressly objected to the search.
The juvenile court's determination that grandmother gave
offcers valid consent to search youth's room was
supported by the evidence in the record. Grandmother's
access to the items in youth's room and control over its
contents, coupled with grandmother's status as family
elder and homeowner, led the Court of Appeals to conclude
that the juvenile court did [296 Or. 723] not err when it
determined that grandmother had actual authority to consent
to a search of the items in youth's room.
[296 Or. 724]
LINDER, S. J.
juvenile delinquency case, the juvenile court found youth to
be in the court's jurisdiction based on youth's
unlawful possession of a firearm. ORS 166.250. On appeal,
youth challenges the juvenile court's denial of his
motion to suppress evidence of a gun that police found in
youth's bedroom when they searched it based on consent
given by youth's grandmother, who owned the home where
youth was living. Youth argues that his grandmother could not
authorize the search as against him because he was present at
the time and objected to it. As we will explain, we conclude
that the grandmother's consent was valid and, as a
result, the search was lawful. We therefore affirm.
the parties disagree on the legal significance of the facts
in the record, the facts themselves are not disputed. In all
events, we state the facts and all reasonable inferences that
the record supports in the light most favorable to the
juvenile court's denial of the motion to suppress.
State v. Beylund, 158 Or.App. 410, 416-17, 976 P.2d
1141, rev den, 328 Or. 594 (1999) (We defer to the
trial court's express and implicit findings of fact, but
whether those facts establish authority to consent to search
is a legal question.).
time of the events involved in this case, youth was 16 years
old and was living with his grandmother in a home that she
owned. Youth, who had his own bedroom in the home, had lived
there for two and one-half years. Youth helped with chores by
"taking out the garbage, cleaning his own room,"
and otherwise doing "those kind of things." Youth
paid no rent of any kind, however, and his grandmother
required him to follow the rules that she set. Youth resisted
the idea that his grandmother could go into his room at will,
stating "emphatically" in conversations with her
that it was his room. But his grandmother, just as
emphatically, told him that "it's my house. If I
want to go in there, I will go in there." And she did.
The door was never locked. Youth's grandmother did not
need his permission to enter his bedroom. She regularly went
into youth's room to, among other things, wake him up for
school, make sure windows were closed, clean, and to pick up.
Throughout the time that youth lived there, his
grandmother's position was: [296 Or. 725] "[I]f
there's reasons for me to go in [youth's bedroom], I
will go in. He's still in our home and still 16 and I
will go in if I need to." Even so, she tried to
"respect his space" by, for example, knocking on
the door if it was shut before entering and not cleaning or
picking up in the room right after waking youth if it
disturbed him at that time. On those occasions, she would
come back later, at which point she would clean and pick up
things in the room as she chose.
search in this case occurred after Officer Culp, a police
officer who is also a high school resource officer, received
a report that youth and one of his friends (Cameron, a
19-year-old former student) showed up with handguns the day
before at an off-campus fight. Culp and two other officers
went to youth's home to investigate. The grandmother
allowed the officers into the house. Then she walked directly
back to youth's room and entered, permitting the officers
to enter the bedroom with her. At the time, youth, Cameron,
and a third friend (a 16 year old) were all asleep in
youth's room. Culp remained in the bedroom with youth,
while the two other officers talked to his friends in other
parts of the house. Culp asked youth for permission to search
the room, but youth said he did not want the officer to
search. Culp then said he would ask youth's grandmother
for permission. Youth responded that if he told his
grandmother not to allow the officer search, she would
refuse. Before the officer could "get the words
out" to ask the grandmother for her consent, she walked
into the room and, having heard the officer ask for
permission to search, said, "Go, look through whatever
you want." The grandmother believed that she had the
right to permit the search, explaining at the suppression
hearing that "[i]t was my home and apparently there was
something going on that shouldn't have been going on in
my home and I wanted it resolved." Culp found a firearm
in youth's room on an open shelf of an entertainment
center, beneath a towel.
was charged with committing acts that, if committed by an
adult, would constitute unlawful possession [296 Or. 726] of
a weapon under ORS 166.250. At trial, relying on both state
and federal constitutional grounds, youth moved to suppress
the evidence of the firearm seized in the search. In support
of his motion, youth argued that his grandmother's
consent to search was invalid as against him, because youth
was physically present and expressly objected to the search.
In response, the state argued that youth's grandmother,
throughout the time that youth lived there, made it clear
that it was "her house, her rules." As a result,
the state contended, youth's ...