Oregon v. LienAnnotate this Case
Police officers discovered incriminating drug-related evidence in defendants Tracy Lien and Travis Wilverdin's garbage by having a sanitation company manager specially pick up defendants’ garbage bin on trash pick-up day, transport it to the sanitation company’s facilities, and turn it over to the officers, who then searched the bin. After the trial court denied their motions to suppress that evidence, defendants were convicted on drug-related charges. The Court of Appeals affirmed those convictions, concluding that, although defendants retained protected possessory and privacy interests in the garbage while their bin rested at the curb, the police did not violate their interests by taking possession of the bin and searching its contents, because defendants had lost their interests when the sanitation company picked up their garbage bin. After review, the Oregon Supreme Court held defendants retained protected privacy interests in their garbage under Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, which the police invaded when they searched defendants’ garbage bin without a warrant. Accordingly, the trial court erred by denying defendants’ motions to suppress evidence, and the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and the judgments of the circuit court, and remand for further proceedings before the circuit court.