Oregon v. BlissAnnotate this Case
Defendant Jacob Bliss sought to suppress evidence discovered in a warrantless search of his car, asserting that, because he had been stopped for a traffic infraction rather than in connection with a crime, the police officer’s failure to obtain a warrant was not excused by the automobile exception to the warrant requirement of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution. In March 2014, a police officer stopped defendant for speeding after observing him driving 79 miles per hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone. The officer approached the car and asked defendant for his license and registration. Defendant appeared to be very nervous and he was sweat- ing heavily. A strong odor of marijuana emanated from the car. The officer’s check of defendant’s records revealed that defendant did not own the car, that the license plates on the car were registered to a different car, and that defendant was a state and federal parolee. While the officer questioned defendant, defendant repeatedly reached under the seat. Based on defendant’s conduct and other observations, defendant was ordered out of the car and patted down. The search netted a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine. A test of residue on the pipe affirmed it was methamphetamine. Defendant was subsequently arrested. The trial court ruled that the automobile exception applied and that no warrant was necessary. It therefore declined to suppress the evidence. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Finding no reversible error, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed.