Is a Backpack Inventory by Police a Warrantless Search? Oregon v. Hite (2014)

November 05, 2014: Court of Appeals: State of Oregon v. Jason Paul Hite (A150288 – Lane County Circuit Court)


“Defendant seeks reversal of a number of convictions related to identity theft 3 and forgery. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress evidence found in his backpack after he was arrested on an outstanding warrant, arguing that the police unlawfully searched the backpack. The trial court ruled that the police were required to inventory the contents of the backpack before taking defendant to jail, and it denied the motion to suppress. On appeal, defendant argues, among other things, that the search was unlawful because it was not conducted pursuant to a facially valid inventory policy that sufficiently limited the scope of the inventory. The state contends that the inventory policy is sufficiently limited and, alternatively, that the search was a constitutionally permissible search incident to defendant’s arrest. We agree with defendant that the inventory policy is unconstitutionally overbroad. We reject the state’s alternative argument because the state did not raise it in the trial court and, if it had, defendant might have been able to create a different record on the issue. Accordingly, we reverse as to the challenged convictions….” [Link to full case.]

(Oregon Constitution Article 1, Section 9)

Oregon Legal Self-Help at your Fingertips

Our favorite and first-stop legal self-help website is Oregon Law Help.

If you need legal information and referrals on domestic violence, custody, child support, landlord-tenant, foreclosure, bankruptcy, taxes, wages and hours, employment discrimination, public benefits, immigration and workplace safety, elder law, estate planning, disability law, special education, or related topics, make Oregon Law Help one of your first stops on the Internet.

Your next stops might be 211 Info, your public library, and your public law library. And there’s more! But we’ll save those for another blog post.

Courthouse Romance? Oregon Judges Perform Weddings: Who, What, Where, and How (the Why is up to you)

Courthouses can be happy places on rare occasions and weddings can cheer up the otherwise gloomy edifices since wedding parties usually dress more colorfully than litigants (not to mention smile more) and that can brighten up almost everyone’s day (except of course for gloomy Gus in the bushes shouting “don’t do it!“)

For example, visit the Washington County Circuit Court Weddings website for information about getting married at their Courthouse.

Or, what about Clatsop County Courthouse?

Check with your own county’s Circuit Court or the county where you want to be married. Use the OJD Court Information Finder tool at their website to find a courthouse.

And don’t forget that marriage license, which you’ll get from a county government office. (The County Circuit Courts are state government offices, the Judicial Branch of state government.)

Now about those engagement rings: The Law of Engagement Rings (with a side of ring-flingers and Oregon cows)

Death with Dignity: Advance Directives (legal form) in Oregon: Health Care Instructions

Appointing a Health Care Representative and Giving Health Care Instructions (form).

You can find this form (and future updates) and additional information at the Oregon DCBS Advance Directives website.

Ouch! Another Lesson in Statutory Interpretation: Oregon Court of Appeals Pulls Out its Hair: State v. Lewis (2014)

State v. Lewis (A152266, 2014) Multnomah County Circuit Court (111235241)

We conclude that the state failed to present sufficient evidence that the victim in this case suffered “physical injury,” as required by ORS 163.160(1)(a)….

As noted, ORS 163.160(1)(a) provides that, “[a] person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if the person * * * [i]ntentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another.” “Physical injury” is, in turn, defined, in turn, as “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.” ORS 161.015(7). Defendant contends that the state failed to present sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim suffered either “impairment of physical condition” or “substantial pain” from having her hair pulled out. We address each contention in turn….
We agree with defendant that, under the circumstances of this case, the state has not presented sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim suffered an “impairment of physical condition” as a result of having hair pulled out of her head….” [Link to full case.]

Statutes discussed: ORS 7 163.160(1)(a) and ORS 161.015(7)

Legal Research Class: City of Damascus v. Henry R. Brown, Jr. (Oregon Court of Appeals, 2014)

I could use this case to teach an entire course on Oregon legal research to lawyers, law students, legislators, and self-represented litigants:

City of Damascus v. Henry R. Brown, Jr. (A156920)

This case concerns the constitutionality of a bill passed by the 2014 Oregon Legislative Assembly, House Bill (HB) 4029, which permits landowners with property located on the boundary of the City of Damascus to withdraw that property from the jurisdiction of the city….

After consolidating the cases, we requested that the parties also address whether the petitions present us with a justiciable controversy, including whether petitioners have standing, whether the petitions are moot, and whether the parties are adverse….

On the merits of the petitions in GDI and Patton, we conclude that HB 4029 is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to private individuals because the legislation delegates to interested landowners the authority to determine the city’s boundary and to find the facts necessary to make that determination without imposing any meaningful procedural safeguards on the landowners’ fact-finding function. Accordingly, we reverse the GDI and Patton withdrawals….

City of Damascus v. Henry R. Brown, Jr. (A156920 – Agency/Board/Other)

In A156922 and A156923, reversed on cross-petition; in A156920, A156921, A156922, A156923, A156963, A156964, A156982, A156983, A156984, A157037, A157042, A157043, A157044, A157045, A157046, A157047, A157130, A157166, A157167, A157345, A157455, A157456, A157457, petition dismissed.

Where to Find Superseded Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) and the Oregon Bulletin

You can link to this Superseded OAR grid from our What’s New and our Document Index (under the letter O) pages and – wonk alert – see a picture of first page of the first Oregon Administrative Rule Bulletin, from May 1, 1958.

Thank you to all the librarians who helped me compile this grid!

And remember, It’s Not All Online.

Oregon Supreme Court: Retired Public Servants, Health Care, and Private Rights of Action under ORS 243.303

Ronald Doyle et al. v. City of Medford et al., (TC 0801317) (CA A147497) (SC S061463)

On review from the Court of Appeals in an appeal from the Jackson County Circuit Court, Mark S. Schiveley, Judge. 256 Or App 625, 303 P3d 346 (2013). The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The case is remanded to that court for further proceedings. Opinion of the Court by Justice David V. Brewer. Justice Martha L. Walters concurred and filed an opinion, in which Justice Richard C. Baldwin joined.

Today, the Oregon Supreme Court held that, in enacting ORS 243.303(2), which requires local governments to make available to retired employees, “insofar as and to the extent possible,” the health care insurance coverage available to current officers and employees of the local government, the legislature did not expressly or impliedly intend to create a private right of action for the enforcement of that duty. The Court also declined to exercise its common-law authority to provide such a right of action sounding in tort….” [Link to full case, Opinions Issued in 2014, and the October 2, 2014, Supreme Court Opinions Media Release.]

Oregon Council on Court Procedures

The Council on Court Procedures is changing internet hosts, but the domain and the content remain (essentially) the same, with invaluable information on the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure. There will be some adjustments, and you may need to fix your links, as the migration progresses, but time heals all wobbles, or maybe that’s wobbles all heels.

What is a Grand Bargain?

It seems that everywhere one turns, Congress, state legislators, and local elected officials are making “Grand Bargains.” So, what is a Grand Bargain?

A “bargain” is, generally speaking (in “dictionary” language), an agreement by one party to buy and another to sell. (There must also be “consideration,” but that is another topic of discussion.) See definitions in the Free Dictionary and in the free, online Merriam-Webster.

Grand” means, simply speaking, large, in size or scope.
See definitions in the Free Dictionary and in the free, online Merriam-Webster.

Some say it all began with Congress and President Obama and tax and debt Grand Bargains, and we’ve seen it here in Oregon with land use and large corporations and the state, but whenever someone says “that’s where it all began,” put on your Skeptics Hat. Grand Bargains may have begun with Moses and the Ten Commandments, or maybe with Noah or Job, or the Easter Island inhabitants, Stonehenge, or with the Big Bang, perhaps the grandest bargain of them all. And then again, maybe it began with Ptolemy, and his Great Treatise.

In any event, whenever anyone begins to talk about making a Grand Bargain, it never hurts to ask who is giving what to whom in exchange for how much – and, of course, what’s in it for you.