State v. Ortega

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State v. Ortega

Case Number
S-14-0782
Call Date
November 6, 2015
Court Number
Dakota
Case Summary

S-14-0782 State v. Rodrigo A. Ortega (Appellant)

Dakota County District Court, Judge Paul J. Vaughan

Attorneys: Nathan A. Liss (Attorney General's Office) --- Todd W. Lancaster (Commission on Public Advocacy) (Appellant)

Criminal: Possession of firearm by prohibited person, subsequent offense, attempted assault on police officer, possession of methamphetamine, habitual criminal

Proceedings below: Following a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty and sentenced to 71 to 101 years of incarceration. The State filed a Petition to Bypass the Court of Appeals which was granted by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Issues: 1) The trial court erred by not finding the stop and detention of Appellant was unlawful: A) Law enforcement did not have reasonable suspicion to initiate an investigative stop, B) Law enforcement did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop, and C) Law enforcement stopped and detained Appellant as a pretext or with an ulterior motive to initiate a search; 2) The search of Appellant 's vehicle violated his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Nebraska Constitution and Nebraska Revised Statutes '' 29-812 et seq. (Reissue 2008): A) The warrantless search of the vehicle Appellant was driving was done in violation of Appellant 's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights as set forth in Arizona v. Gant: i) Appellant was not within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search, ii) The arresting officers had no reason to believe that Appellant 's vehicle contained evidence of the offense of the arrest, and iii) To satisfy the second prong of Gant, the officer's suspicion must be directly related to the actual elements of the charged offense, B) The warrantless search of Appellant 's vehicle was done in violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and does not fall under the "automobile exception": i) No exigent circumstances existed to justify the search, C) The warrantless search of Appellant 's vehicle was done in violation of Appellant 's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and was not a proper "inventory" search, and D) The search of Appellant 's vehicle was merely a 'pretext" for an investigative search; and 3) The inevitable discovery doctrine does not apply in this case.