Oregon v. MaddenAnnotate this Case
As police officers converged on a house to execute a search warrant, they encountered defendant Benjamin Madden sitting in a car in the driveway. They seized and handcuffed him, brought him into the house, kept him there while they proceeded with the search, questioned him after the house was secured, and then obtained his consent to a search of the car where they first had encountered him. The police officers’ questioning and search produced evidence that the State sought to use in prosecuting defendant on drug and weapons charges. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that it was the product of a warrantless seizure and an interrogation that were conducted without a reasonable suspicion that he had committed any crime, in violation of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that the conduct of the police was justified under an “officer safety” rationale. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the initial seizure and transportation of defendant into the house were justified for officer safety reasons, but that steps that the police took thereafter (continuing defendant’s detention after the house was secured, moving him to a separate room, and questioning him) could not "reasonably be ascribed to the officers’ safety concerns." Because the evidence at issue was the product of that later conduct, defendant’s motion to suppress should have been granted, unless the officers had an independent constitutional justification for continuing the detention. The Court therefore reverse the contrary decisions by the trial court and Court of Appeals, and remanded to the trial court to determine whether the police conduct was justified under an alternative rationale: a reasonable suspicion on the part of the police that defendant had committed a crime.