Oregon v. SuppahAnnotate this Case
In July 2010, defendant Roman Suppah was driving his girlfriend’s car. Deputy Sheriff Hulke stopped defendant for a traffic violation. After being stopped, defendant “told [the deputy that] his name was Harold Pennington, born in 7/21/64.” Defendant said that he lived in Warm Springs but that he did not “have a physical address or a mailing address.” The deputy contacted the dispatcher to check the name and date of birth that defendant had given him. The dispatcher told him that “Pennington was driving while suspended,” and defendant did not offer any proof of insurance. The deputy cited defendant (as Pennington) for driving while suspended and driving without insurance. The deputy did not cite defendant for the traffic violation that had led him to stop defendant in the first place, nor did he make a written record of the reason why he had stopped defendant. As the deputy later explained, the traffic violation that had led him to stop defendant was one for which he normally gives drivers a warning but no citation. The state charged defendant with giving false information to a deputy sheriff. Later, at a hearing on defendant’s motion to suppress, the deputy could not remember the specific traffic violation that had led him to stop defendant. The trial court found that the state’s inability to establish the reason
for the stop rendered it unlawful, but it denied defendant’s motion to suppress the statements that defendant had made following the stop. Focusing on defendant’s reasons for giving the deputy false information, the trial court found that defendant’s decision to do so was independent of the illegality. The en banc Court of Appeals reversed. The Oregon Supreme Court allowed the state’s petition for review and reversed the Court of Appeals decision. "[F]rom a temporal perspective, the illegality did not become apparent until months later at the suppression hearing when the officer could not remember which traffic violation had led him to stop defendant. The trial court correctly concluded that the stop had no appreciable effect on defendant’s decision to give the deputy a false name and date of birth. Because that decision attenuated the taint of the unlawful stop, the trial court correctly denied defendant’s motion to suppress his statements."