State v. Fessenden

355 Or. 759, 333 P.3d 278 (2014)

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State v. Fessenden

Oregon Supreme Court
355 Or. 759, 333 P.3d 278 (2014)

Facts

Fessenden and Dicke (defendants) jointly owned a horse that remained on Dicke’s property. Neighbors observed that the horse appeared to be starving and reported the matter to the sheriff’s office. Upon arrival, the responding officer could see the horse in a pasture in plain view from the driveway. The officer believed the horse to be suffering from malnourishment and in need of immediate medical treatment. Thus, the officer believed that Fessenden and Dicke had committed the crime of animal neglect. Knowing that the horse may die before a warrant could be obtained, the officer entered the property, took the horse, and immediately transported it to a veterinarian. Dicke and Fessenden were charged with animal neglect. At the criminal trial, the defense tried to suppress evidence from the officer’s seizure, claiming that it was obtained in violation of state statutes on warrant requirements and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The State of Oregon (plaintiff) claimed that the emergency-aid and exigent-circumstances exceptions applied. The trial court denied Fessenden and Dicke’s motion to suppress the evidence, and a jury convicted them of the charged crimes. Fessenden and Dicke appealed, arguing that the evidence should have been suppressed. The court of appeals affirmed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Walters, J.)

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