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State v. Salkoski

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 28, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
KENNETH CHARLES SALKOSKI, Defendant-Appellant. 299 Or.App. 180

          Submitted July 12, 2019

          Washington County Circuit Court 17CR54389; D. Charles Bailey, Jr., Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Sarah De La Cruz, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Greg Rios, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Powers, Judge, and Landau, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained during an inventory of his backpack. Held: The trial court did not err. The inventory of defendant's backpack was conducted pursuant to an inventory policy authorizing the inventory of items "designed for or likely to contain money or small valuables," which includes a backpack.

          [299 Or.App. 181] LANDAU, S. J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. ORS 475.894. He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained during an inventory of his possessions and to the imposition of special conditions of probation. We reject his assignment concerning the conditions of probation without discussion and write only to address the trial court's denial of the motion to suppress. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         The relevant facts are not in dispute. Defendant's mother called police to report that her son was "high on meth" and hiding underneath her car in an agitated state. City of Tualatin Police Officer Neumeister responded. When he arrived, defendant's erratic behavior led Neumeister to believe that he had probable cause to detain defendant on "a police officer hold to take him to a detox facility."

         Defendant had a backpack in his possession at the time. Neumeister described it as a "black backpack, normal type, size," a "normal, standard backpack" that had an outer pocket. He said that it was not a "backpacking backpack." Neumeister inventoried the contents of the backpack, which contained a clear plastic baggie containing methamphetamine and other evidence of methamphetamine possession.

         Neumeister inventoried the backpack pursuant to a City of Tualatin policy that requires police officers to "inventory the personal property of a person taken into police custody," including when a person is transferred to a treatment facility. The policy further provides that certain types of closed containers "shall be opened for inventory," including "wallets, purses, coin purses, fanny packs, personal organizers, briefcases or other closed containers designed for or likely to contain money or small valuables."

         The state charged defendant with unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He moved to suppress the evidence that Neumeister found in his backpack, arguing that the City of Tualatin inventory policy did not authorize the officer to open the backpack because backpacks were not listed as a type of closed container that officers [299 Or.App. 182] are authorized to open when taking a person into custody. According to defendant, the state was required to produce evidence "about what makes this particular backpack interesting or unique" so that it was likely that it would contain valuables. The trial court rejected the argument and denied the motion to suppress. The court explained that:

"The policy allows for search of fanny packs-I'm not going to go through all of them-personal organizers or briefcases or here, which I think the State is relying on, other closed containers designed for or likely to contain money or small valuables.
"I think there's a fair argument that, quite frankly, all those-is a backpack a fanny pack? Certainly purposes are similar, certainly within the spirit and it's-or it could be a personal ...

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