Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


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., 06/24/2024
E.g., 06/24/2024

When, under G.S. 122C-303, an officer takes a publicly intoxicated person to jail to assist that person and the action is taken against the person’s will, an arrest occurs. 

Because the trial court failed to make adequate findings to permit review of its determination on the defendant’s motion to suppress that the defendant was not placed under arrest when he was detained by an officer for nearly two hours, the court remanded for findings on this issue. The court noted that the officer’s stop of the defendant was not a “de facto” arrest simply because the officer handcuffed the defendant and placed him in the front passenger seat of his police car. However, it continued, “the length of Defendant’s detention may have turned the investigative stop into a de facto arrest, necessitating probable cause . . . for the detention.” It added: “Although length in and of itself will not normally convert an otherwise valid seizure into a de facto arrest, where the detention is more than momentary, as here, there must be some strong justification for the delay to avoid rendering the seizure unreasonable.”

State v. Mello, 200 N.C. App. 561 (Nov. 3, 2009) aff’d per curiam, 364 N.C. 421 (Oct 8 2010)

A provision in a city ordinance prohibiting loitering for the purpose of engaging in drug-related activity and allowing the police to arrest in the absence of probable cause violated the Fourth Amendment.

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