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Oregon Supreme Court Throws Out Fishing Expeditions

On November 15, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that during a traffic stop, a police investigation must be reasonably related to the purpose of the traffic stop or have independent justification, such as probable cause that a crime has been committed, to investigate other matters. The case involved Mario Arreola-Botello, who was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. While searching for his registration and insurance the officer inquired about drugs and weapons and asked to search the car. The Supreme Court ruled the questions about drugs, weapons, and the request to search were unrelated to the traffic stop and therefore violated the Oregon Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizure. The contraband obtained in the search was not allowed as evidence and the case against the defendant was overturned.

Prior rulings led the State to believe officers could make investigative inquiries unrelated to the stop only if the inquires did not significantly extend the duration of the stop. This ruling strengthens Constitutional rights by restricting investigations unless the officer has independent justification, such as the odor of alcohol, to extend the investigation. The ruling makes it more difficult for officers to make pretext stops to fish for more serious crimes and may lessen the profiling of people of color.

  People's Police Report

January, 2020
Also in PPR #79

Campaign for Accountable "Union" Contract
Compliance Officer: PPB Doesn't Have to Change
Portland Police Shoot Another Man in Crisis
  Oregon: 2 Years of 30+ Shootings Over Average of 26
Info Supports Staying Out of Terrorism Task Force
Review Committee Accepts, Challenges Findings
Police Review Board: Bait & Switch Discipline
Will New Programs Help Unhoused Community?
Apparent Racial Profiling at Climate Protest
Chief Tells Training Council: Census Data No Good
Legal Briefs: OR Supremes Throw Out Fishing Expeditions
Stop Data Reports Paint Differing Pictures
PPB Slows Down Policy Reviews
Rapping Back #79

Portland Copwatch
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Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

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