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Oregon Court of Appeals 10-27-09

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by: Abassos • October 26, 2009 • no comments

Read the full article for details about the following new cases:

  • Testimonial Evidence - Medical Treatment
  • Confessions must be Corroborated - Admissions do not need to be corroborated
  • Stop - Restraint of Liberty
  • Stop - Non-Traffic
  • Burg I - Intent to commit crime
  • Motion to Suppress - DA Fails to appear at Hearing
  • DUII - Breath Test Administration
  • Equal Protection - Labor protest exception
  • Dependency - Jurisdiction (Circumstances endangering welfare)


Testimonial Evidence - Medical Treatment

A DV victim's statements to her doctor about what caused her injuries do not become testimonial evidence just because the doctor is a mandatory reporter and knew he would be reporting the incident to the police. In order for such a situation to become testimonial there must be some evidence that the person is working in concert with law enforcement. State v. Bella

Confessions must be Corroborated - Admissions do not need to be corroborated

The rule that a confession must be corroborated by some additional evidence does not apply to "admissions". A confession is an acknowledgement of guilt. An admission is a statement made for some purpose other than to acknowledge guilt like exculpatory statements or statements made as a part of a person's employment duties. Here, defendant was trying to get out of more serious charges when he told the police his story. He was not confessing his guilt even though he admitted to coercion while trying to get out of an assault with a deadly weapon. Thus, the statements alone were sufficient for conviction. State v. Bella

Stop - Restraint of Liberty

Defendant clearly could reasonably have believed her liberty was restrained when, as a passenger in a car, she was asked for her identification, subjected to repeated requests for consent to search her purse and accused of suspicious behavior for being in the company of a known drug user. As the court points out, previous cases have found a significant restraint of liberty for far less. State v. Billings

Stop - Non-Traffic

During a non-traffic stop for being in a park after hours, the cop asks about weapons and contraband and defendant consents to a search. This was perfectly Constitutional because (1) there was no extension of the stop since there was both PC for the parks violation and Reasonable Suspicion for an active warrant; and (2) this was not a traffic stop so the Kirkeby line of cases, which rely on a traffic statute, do not apply. State v. Simcox

Burg I - Intent to commit crime

There was sufficient evidence that defendant entered a residence with the intent to commit an assault where he followed victim into his apartment after a verbal argument, repeatedly lunging at victim with both hands while screaming at the top of his lungs. State v. Parker

Motion to Suppress - DA fails to appear at hearing

A judge cannot grant defendant's motion to suppression to suppress solely because the DA fails to appear. A judge can go forward with the hearing in the DA's absence. But the judge must take evidence and make a ruling on the merits of the case. State v. Edwards

DUII - Breath Test Administration

The trial judge should not have suppressed a DUII breath test solely because the cop did not use his own personal id number for the breathalizer. The cop is required to possess a permit and PIN but "possess" means "own", not have on his possession at that moment. State v. Valero

Equal Protection - Labor protest exception

The court strikes down the misdemeanor statute of Interfering with Agricultural Operations because it criminalizes some expressive conduct (knowingly obstructing agricultural operations through protest) but creates an exception for labor disputes. This is a violation of equal protection because (1) it creates a first amendment distinction that has no bearing on any legitimate governmental interest and (2) the statute is inextricably interwoven with the exception such that it cannot be excised. State v. Borowski

Dependency - Jurisdiction - circumstances endangering welfare

"The key inquiry . . . is whether, under the totality of the circumstances, there is a reasonable likelihood of harm to the welfare of the child. Here, we perceive little if any evidence that father's condition was harmful to the children in the past. From the record, we learn that he acted out when he drank, that his conduct when drinking frightened the children, and that drinking made him mean and controlling. Obviously, that is not ideal parenting. However, without more, it is not inherently or necessarily more harmful or dangerous than other varieties of parenting that would, by no stretch of the imagination, justify state intervention into the parent-child relationship." "More importantly", even if the children were at risk in the past, there is no evidence that, after 10 months of sobriety, the children are still at risk, regardless of whether Father completed the DHS alcohol programs or blew them off. In the Matter of DAC