Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

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E.g., 12/04/2021
E.g., 12/04/2021

(1) An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle for speeding. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because the officer only observed the vehicle for three to five seconds, the officer did not have a reasonable opportunity to judge the vehicle’s speed. The court noted that after his initial observation of the vehicle, the officer made a U-turn and began pursuing it; he testified that during his pursuit, the defendant “maintained his speed.” Although the officer did not testify to a specific distance he observed the defendant travel, “some distance was implied” by his testimony regarding his pursuit of the defendant. Also, although it is not necessary for an officer to have specialized training to be able to visually estimate a vehicle’s speed, the officer in question had specialized training in visual speed estimation. (2) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that an officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle for speeding on grounds that there was insufficient evidence identifying the defendant as the driver. Specifically, the defendant noted that the officer lost sight of the vehicle for a short period of time. The officer only lost sight of the defendant for approximately thirty seconds and when he saw the vehicle again, he recognized both the car and the driver. 

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