State v. Yancey, 221 N.C. App. 397 (2012)


The trial court did not err by denying the 17-year-old juvenile defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from a search of his backpack based on consent. An officer saw defendant sitting on a sidewalk, around 8:00 a.m., and asked for his name and whether he should be in school. Defendant provided his name but appeared nervous and kept putting his hands in his pockets. The officer conducted a pat-down search (which was not challenged on appeal) and then asked to look in defendant’s backpack, to which defendant replied, “sure.” On appeal, defendant argued that once the officer confirmed his suspicion that defendant should have been in school, additional reasonable suspicion was required for the officer to request consent to search his backpack. The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that both the initial encounter between defendant and the officer and the search of defendant’s backpack were consensual. The court reiterated that an officer may approach individuals on the street and “pose questions, ask for identification, and request consent to search” without violating the Fourth Amendment. Reasonable suspicion is required only when the encounter loses its consensual nature.

Motions to Suppress
Search and Seizure
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