In the Matter of D.B., 214 N.C. App. 489 (2011)

Reversed and remanded in part
Affirmed in Part
Vacated in Part

Evidence of the stolen credit card seized from the juvenile should have been excluded because the search pursuant to which the officer found it exceeded the permissible scope of a Terry frisk and was unconstitutional. After discovery of a break-in and theft at a golf club, an officer stopped and frisked the juvenile based on a description given by a witness who reported seeing someone running from the golf course. The juvenile refused to identify himself or respond when asked whether he had identification. The officer felt something in the juvenile’s shirt pocket and, thinking it could be an identification card, removed it. The object was a credit card that had been reported stolen. The juvenile was adjudicated on three charges: (i) felony breaking and entering; (ii) felony larceny pursuant to breaking and entering; and (iii) misdemeanor possession of stolen property. The Court of Appeals held that “[s]ince an identification card is not a weapon or contraband, . . . [the officer’s] removal of the RBC Centura Visa card from the juvenile’s pocket exceeded the scope of a Terry frisk.” A frisk is for protective purposes and is limited to determining whether the person has a weapon. If a proper frisk necessarily reveals evidence of a crime or contraband, the officer may seize it. Here the “stop and frisk” was legal, but discovery of the credit card resulted from an impermissible search.Conducting a warrantless search solely to discover a person’s identity is not permitted.

Motions to Suppress
Search and Seizure
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