Oregon Bans Cops From Small Talk Or Questions On Stops Unrelated To Violation

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement officers cannot asking questions to help discover other offenses.

Salem, OR – The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officers must stick to questions “reasonably related” to the reason for a traffic stop and can’t ask questions that could lead to the discovery of other crimes.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported that the ruling will prohibit officers from turning a traffic stop into a fishing expedition for more serious offenses.

The ruling banned officers from asking questions about the presence of guns or drugs unless it's related to the reason for the stop.

“No longer can officers use a broken taillight or a failure to signal as a justification for scouting a driver’s car for illegal guns or drugs,” OPB reported.

The 2015 incident that brought the matter to the forefront was the case of Mario Arreola-Botello, who was stopped by Beaverton police on a traffic infraction.

Arreola-Botello gave police consent to search his vehicle, and the officer found a package of methamphetamine during the search, according to OPB.

His attorneys argued that the search of his car was unconstitutional because it was the result of the officer asking questions outside the scope of the investigation of Areola-Botello’s failure to use his turn signal.

Both a trial court and the Oregon Court of Appeals rejected that argument and cited that “unavoidable lull” policy which allowed officers to go off-topic during unavoidable waits as long as it didn’t extend the traffic stop, OPB reported.

But the Oregon Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts.

“Put simply, an ‘unavoidable lull’ does not create an opportunity for an officer to ask unrelated questions, unless the officer can justify the inquiry on other grounds,” the justices said in their ruling.

The ruling will change the way most officers and deputies in the state of Oregon do their jobs, according to OPB.

“Each officer or deputy in this case are going to have to change the way they conduct their traffic stops on a day to day basis,” Washington County Sheriff’s Sergeant Danny DiPietro told OPB. “It’s very significant.”

Law enforcement agencies all over the state were working to comply with the ruling as quickly as they could.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Salem Police Department told OPB they had requested guidance from their local prosecutors and were waiting to hear back.

Beaverton police, Gresham police, and the Oregon State Police said they were working on training bulletins for their officers.

The Portland Police Bureau told OPB it was reviewing the department’s training protocols and would update officers.

Multiple agencies said they have already told officers to keep chit-chat to a minimum but that the ruling has leeway if the officer is able to establish reasonable suspicion of a crime without discussing things unrelated to the reason for the stop.

“If a deputy pulls someone over for a traffic violation, walks up, smells the odor of alcohol and sees blood shot eyes, poor coordination in their hands, that would establish reasonable suspicion for a DUI,” Sgt. DiPietro told OPB. “Then they can inquire about that crime.”

Civil rights activists celebrated the ruling as a win for people of color.

“This decision closes a loophole in the protection of our constitutional rights that police had been using to conduct warrantless searches,” Leland Baxter-Neal, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon, said. “And those searches had disproportionately targeted people of color.”

Oregon Justice Resource Center Executive Director Bobbin Singh called the ruling “symbolically incredibly important for communities of color,” OPB reported.

"As a person of color, what I’ll say is, that’s what white people’s expectations are.” Singh said. “People of color, when they’re stopped by the police, there’s not really any expectation of where the limits are.”

According to the Oregon Department of Justice, the Oregon Supreme Court has the final say on the case and it cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, OPB reported.

Comments (47)
No. 1-35
Nick920
Nick920

Until now I thought California had the most imbeciles in charge with New York and Virginia coming in close behind but Oregon has definitely moved into first place with this one .

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Officers can't ask if the suspect has weapons? What kind of nonsense is this. This ruling is going to kill good people.

The ruling is here... https://cases.justia.com/oregon/supreme-court/2019-s066119.pdf?ts=1573834543

It says:

In Jimenez, we consid-ered whether Article I, section 9, permits a routine weapons inquiry during every traffic stop. Id. at 419. We concluded that a routine weapons inquiry, absent a showing of reason-able, circumstance-specific concerns for officer safety, fell outside the permissible scope of Article I, section 9.

I want off this planet.

Logic Required
Logic Required

Didnt want to anyway but I'ma strike this whole state off the list for future LE jobs..

dcoskrey
dcoskrey

Nothing should surprise us anymore … but this is so wacky. So the goal is no longer to remove the bad guys and the bad stuff from the streets. It's to make sure "people of color" are not offended.

Janrho
Janrho

They ALL need to quit!

Mama1959
Mama1959

LEOs are gonna end up dead for this crap

Bobholly79
Bobholly79

Well you can’t fix stupid

Must be the effect of salt water on the brain???

More far far far left stupidity

Patriot63
Patriot63

They probably raised there children using time outs as punishments and never used small talk to get the full story from there children. Next thing they'll do is tell the Police to offer milk and cookies at every stop. Quit staving Law Enforcement in the back. Support our Law Enforcement and work on this anti-Cop issue started during the last Administration so our Officers aren't always under attack by those they pull over. Judges shoud then stop with there small talk in there Courts.

wmc50
wmc50

Simply incredible.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Well, so long as we protect the criminal "people of color" from being arrested for their crimes we should all rejoice. Speaking of "people of color" how many changes in the description of this minority are we going to make? First it was "negros", then "blacks", followed by " African Americans" and now "people of color". What next, I wonder?

Sphynx2mom
Sphynx2mom

This is the beginning of the end. We are watching our country slowly flat line. If Police took just 1 day off the job, this nonsense would end. But our blue hero’s would never do that because they swore to protect and serve. If someone does something illegal they should pay the consequences. Not get away with it because the Police can’t ask questions. This angers me beyond words.

RetSgt
RetSgt

W.T.F!!!!!

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

wait a second.... he gave consent to the search.... how is the findings of a search he consented to unconstitutional? And couldn't this "person of color" simply have refused to consent to the search, and the drugs that were in his car would not have been found?

I'm no lawyer, so someone needs to explain this to me.... other than it being Oregon, whose capital is Portland, which has a history of making stupid anti police rules and regulations

SigLady
SigLady

EZ PZ ... just don't stop anybody :) So sad and they wonder why people are not choosing law enforcement careers.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Wait.....what? Why are politicians so set on making it easier for dirtbag criminals to do their jobs and so much harder for the police to do theirs. Makes absolutely no sense.☹😝👎👎

LAW169
LAW169

These justices are nothing more than Judicial Hippies making it difficult for the man. After all, they don’t have endanger their lives making traffic stops like we do. So why should they care???

HH3
HH3

I live in Oregon and this is just STUPID!!!!! That is why I never leave home without being armed. When I am home I am never in a room without the needed protection.
LEO's thanks for all you do to protect us, but now more than ever your hands are tied. Mine are not while on my property and in my home, car, boat, etc.....

Jhn
Jhn

REALLY?????? I thought part of being a LEO was investigating

Jhn
Jhn

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, and Obama supporters, et al: We have stuck together since the late 1950s for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is our separation agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by land mass, each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets, since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

—We don't like redistributive taxes, so you can keep them.

--You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.

--Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA, and the military.

--We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and the coal mines, and you can go with wind, solar, and bio-diesel.

--You can keep Oprah, Whoopi, Bill Maher, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all five of them.

--We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street.

--You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, homeboys, hippies, druggies, and illegal aliens.

--We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEOs, and rednecks.

--We'll keep Bill O’Reilly and Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

--You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.

--You can have the peaceniks and war protesters.

--When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

--We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.

--You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness, and Shirley McLaine. You can also have the UN., but we will no longer be paying the bill.

--We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.

--You can give everyone health care if you can find any practicing doctors.

--We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."

--I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine," "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," "Kum Baya," or "We Are the World."

--We'll practice trickle-down economics and you can continue to give trickle-up poverty your best shot.

--Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name, and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you might think about which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

ArmyOfOne
ArmyOfOne

WOW...it's called interdiction and it's a talent some officers dont have. I gave pulled some good arrests on white and black alike for some good interdiction work off minor traffic offenses. What about K9 free air sniffs? Its freaking case law. This is a bunch of bullshit. Thank god I dont work in that state.

J10107
J10107

Good traffic enforcement always led to good criminal enforcement, because most dirtbag criminals are dumbasses, but in Oregon the majority of supreme court justices are the dumbasses !!!!!

Janken
Janken

I hope every one of those liberal idiots have problems. It's getting so the bad guy can do no wrong

CinHadad
CinHadad

How about "people of color" quit committing crimes. The politicians, judges, & criminals are dividing this country on a daily basis.

ACSO-Charles-One
ACSO-Charles-One

Last time I checked white was a color. What color do you want the house painted inside? White would be nice. Since when does the Orgegon Supreme Court not become reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court. So officer safety goes out the window in Oregon and the case can't be reviewed. To the Oregon Supreme Court, fuck you the horse you rode in on and the little black (of color) dog that followed you.

Dutchuncle
Dutchuncle

OK, let's just give them a Recorder fill with "Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, My I see your license and proof of insurance Please". Then a second recorded message pertaining to the offense ONLY..and send them on their way. Better yet. Just develop a Kiosk that tells the driver, etc what he/she is being stopped for and NO response from the office is Required. OR,,,just bring in the ROBOTS.

pixiepup
pixiepup

It just sounds to me like they r wanting to get rid of police! They just keep making new laws the police have to follow. Soon they will not be allowed to do anything to arrest criminals!

Pats48
Pats48

Considering we just finished an audit here in Detroit where outreach was a necessary part of their program to clear themselves. This is the most dumbass ban ever.

TBL133
TBL133

So the ACLU supports letting criminals keep all the drugs that ruin the lives of people of color and all the guns that kill people of color stay?!?! 🤔

stooge819
stooge819

"Civil rights activists celebrated the ruling as a win for people of color."

Sums up the whole story.

vwiles34
vwiles34

Do they not realize how many dangerous criminals have been taken off the street as the result of traffic stops where officers have found more serious offences by taking the opportunity to question the suspect about other things they suspect might be going on. And how many drug runner have been caught this way. It's getting to the point where the police might as well stay at the station and just go out after the crime has happened and write up a report.

Raymelson
Raymelson

Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing I guess time will tell I just hope no offers lose there life over this

DarrellB
DarrellB

Remember, this is just one courts "opinion". They didn't not over turn law, or declare any policies unconstitutional. If the department has any balls (liberal OR. not likely) they would continue to enforce written law until this idiocy is reversed.

Wildings
Wildings

I am a supporter of LEO's, however I am often disturbed by interaction on Live PD. "Where are you going, where are you coming from" seem to be standard inquiries....as well as "where you living now....where you working?"....and regarding passenger " that your girlfriend/boyfriend?". I understand the officer is trying to get a feel for the situation, but I dont think "high crime area" is sufficient cause. Like Stop and Frisk, this questioning may be productive but I feel it also violates our protected rights.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Sorry, but I think the SCOTUS has already set the precedent. The liberal fucks in the Oregon courts can fuck off with this bullshit.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Po-po's be hoppin' mad on this one!