Oregon v. ThompsonAnnotate this Case
Defendant Darius Thompson robbed someone with a knife, and the victim shot defendant. Defendant sought treatment in a hospital, where police officers questioned him. An officer seized defendant’s cell phone as likely containing evidence of the shooting and other crimes. The officer did so without a warrant, fearing that, if he did not seize the phone, defendant could otherwise destroy the phone or its contents. Police kept the phone for five days before applying for a warrant to seize and search the phone. Once they had the warrant, police searched the phone and found records of calls and messages related to the robbery and shooting. They then used that information in questioning defendant, eliciting statements that defendant argued were incriminating. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress the phone and all derivative evidence, and the trial court denied the motion. A jury found defendant guilty of first-degree robbery, among other crimes, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the resulting conviction. The Oregon Supreme Court's review of this case was limited to issues raised by the motion to suppress, including preservation questions at trial and on appeal. The State conceded, and the Supreme Court agreed, that the Court of Appeals erred in holding it did not need to consider three statements defendant claimed should have been suppressed because he identified them only in his reply brief to the appeals court, and not in his opening brief. The Supreme Court also found defendant adequately raised and preserved his objection to the admission of evidence derived from the seizure of his cell phone, which the Supreme Court found police holding it for five days without a warrant was unreasonable and unlawful. Errors notwithstanding, the Supreme Court determined the evidence that should have been suppressed did not prejudice defendant, and therefore his conviction was affirmed.