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Oregon Supreme Court, December 30, 2021

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by: Rankin Johnson • December 31, 2021 • no comments


Summarized by Rankin Johnson, OCDLA

SEARCH AND SEIZURE - Automobile exception
Importance: 5/5

The Oregon Constitution does not have an automobile exception to the search-warrant requirement. Trial court affirmed, Court of Appeals reversed.

The court overturned State v. Brown, which provided that automobiles' mobility created a per-se exigency. In doing so, the court noted that Brown expressly contemplated reconsideration when technological improvements made warrants easier to obtain. The court criticized Brown as relying on federal law, and observed that, although the automobile exception was intended to be easy to administer, it was had not proved to be. Although the state argued that it would take four to five hours to get a warrant, and the searching officers were not familiar with the telephonic warrant process, the trial court rejected the argument that getting a warrant was impractical. In upholding the trial court's ruling, the Supreme Court expressed concerned about the incentives created by Brown.

State v. McCarthy 369 Or 129 (December 30, 2021) (Duncan) (Marion County, Partridge)