PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed a DUI conviction because the driver was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol trooper after he crossed into Oregon.
The court overturned the 2011 conviction of James Edward Keller of Beaverton, reported The Oregonian/Oregon Live. It found last week that the Washington trooper had no authority under Oregon law to stop Keller.
The Appeals Court said there is an exception for out-of-state police to stop people suspected of having committed a felony if the police chase the suspects into Oregon while in “hot pursuit.”
That didn’t apply to Keller’s case. The trooper pursued Keller after seeing him commit two traffic violations and said he could tell Keller was very drunk after talking to him.
According to court documents, the trooper began following Keller’s speeding car in Washington and pulled him over in Oregon, where he requested assistance twice from Portland police.
Portland police arrived about eight to 12 minutes after the first request for help and took over the investigation, according to the documents. They arrested Keller and found him to have a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving.
Keller’s defense attorney, Lisa Pardini, tried to suppress evidence from what she called an unlawful stop. A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge denied her request, finding that the trooper had probable cause to stop and detain Keller.
The three-judge panel of the Appeals Court, however, maintained that the trooper was acting beyond his jurisdiction, thus violating Keller’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
In a dissenting opinion, appeals judge Erika Hadlock wrote that the law didn’t allow the trooper to stop Keller in Oregon, but she also said the evidence from the stop should be admitted to court. She said the trooper had a legal authority to pull Keller over as a private citizen.
The majority opinion said a citizen doesn’t normally have emergency overhead lights, a siren and a public address system.