and submitted September 29, 2017
Washington County Circuit Court C152457CR; Beth L. Roberts,
A. Salmon, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for
on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and
Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.
J. Snyder-Severe, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause
on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal
Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.
Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr,
Summary: The state appeals an order granting defendant's
motion to suppress evidence found in defendant's car
after his arrest for interfering with a peace officer.
Defendant was arrested after he repeatedly reached under his
dashboard during a traffic stop despite a peace officer's
orders that he not do that. The trial court concluded that
the search was not a valid search incident to arrest on the
ground that the officer could not reasonably have believed
that he would find evidence of the crime of arrest because he
already had all evidence necessary to establish a prima
facie case for interfering with a peace officer. On
appeal, the state argues that the search was a valid search
incident to arrest because the officer looked under the
dashboard to determine defendant's motive for disobeying
the order. Held: The trial court erred in granting
defendant's suppression motion. It was reasonable for the
officer to believe that evidence of defendant's motive
would be concealed in the location where defendant reached,
and evidence bearing on defendant's motive for disobeying
the officer's orders was reasonably [299 Or.App. 545]
related to the crime of arrest. Therefore, the officer's
search was a valid search incident to arrest.
Or.App. 546] ARMSTRONG, P. J.
state appeals an order granting defendant's motion to
suppress evidence found in defendant's car following his
arrest for interfering with a peace officer. Because we
conclude that the officer's search was related to the
crime of arrest and reasonable under the circumstances, we
reverse and remand.
reviewing a trial court's decision on a motion to
suppress, we are bound by that court's factual findings
"if there is constitutionally sufficient evidence in the
record to support those findings." State v.
Ehly, 317 Or. 66, 75, 854 P.2d 421 (1993). Under that
standard of review, the facts are as follows.
Mace stopped defendant for several traffic infractions.
Defendant got out of his car after Mace stopped him, but he
then sat back down in the driver's seat, leaving the door
open. Because the car door remained open, Mace conducted the
stop while standing in front of the "wedge" between
the open door and the vehicle frame. During his interaction
with Mace, defendant appeared extremely nervous; he
misspelled his last name and told Mace that he had left his
license in his truck, so he did not have it with him in the
car that he was driving.
also saw defendant reach several times beneath the dashboard
of the car. Mace testified that defendant appeared to be
reaching toward the area under the driver's side of the
dashboard where the fuse box would be located. Fearing for
his safety, Mace told defendant to stop reaching under the
dash. Defendant responded that he was reaching for his
license, which contradicted his earlier statement that he had
left his license in a different vehicle. Less than a minute
later, defendant quickly reached under the dash for a fourth
and final time. At that point, Mace grabbed defendant before
defendant's hand disappeared from view under the
dashboard because he feared that defendant was reaching for a
then removed defendant from the vehicle to arrest him for
interfering with a peace officer and, with [299 Or.App. 547]
the assistance of his partner, placed defendant against the
side of the vehicle to handcuff him. While defendant was
still pinned against the vehicle, Mace leaned in through the
driver's side doorway and looked underneath the dash
where defendant had been reaching. Mace saw a plastic baggie