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., 07/22/2024
E.g., 07/22/2024

In this first-degree murder case, the defendant challenged (1) the validity of a search warrant for his home; (2) the trial court’s refusal to suppress electronic monitoring data from a GPS unit the defendant was wearing at the time of the offense; (3) the trial court’s refusal to allow him to cross examine a witness on a particular issue; (4) the admission of expert testimony concerning firearms identification and examination: (5) the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss the murder charge.  The Court of Appeals rejected each of the defendant’s arguments and upheld his conviction.

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a search warrant for his home address was defective because of an insufficient nexus between the murder, the evidence sought, and the defendant’s address.  The court noted, among other things, that the search warrant affidavit explained that officers looking through a window had seen bullets on a shelf inside a building at the defendant’s address, that firearms were found in the defendant’s truck when he was arrested, and that there were blood smears on the defendant’s truck and his hands when he was arrested.  The allegations in the warrant affidavit were sufficient for a magistrate to reasonably infer that the items sought under the warrant, such as weapons, ammunition, bloodstains, and DNA evidence, likely could be found at the defendant’s residence.  The court also determined that the trial court’s findings of fact related to the defendant’s motion to suppress supported the trial court’s conclusion that there was probable cause to support the issuance of the warrant.

(2) The Court of Appeals determined that no plain error occurred in connection with the trial court refusing to suppress electronic monitoring data from a GPS device the defendant was wearing at the time of the offense because was on post-release supervision.  Among other things, the court noted that the defendant moved to suppress the data under G.S. 15A-974(a)(2) as a substantial violation of Chapter 15A while alleging that the evidence was obtained in violation of G.S. 15-207.  The court explained that G.S. 15A-974(a)(2) “does not provide a mechanism by which [the defendant] could allege evidence was obtained as a result of a substantial violation of Chapter 15.” 

(3) The Court of Appeals rejected the defendant’s argument that he should have been allowed to cross-examine a witness a witness concerning a Facebook message that the victim sent his mother on the day of the murder suggesting that the victim, who was killed in his home, planned to go somewhere else to fight an unknown person.  The trial court properly excluded the testimony on hearsay grounds, and, given that the message did not point directly towards the guilt of another party, the Court of Appeals concluded that it was “too remote and speculative to be relevant.”

(4) The court next rejected the defendant’s challenge to expert firearm identification evidence, which it examined for plain error because of the defendant’s failure to object to the admission of the testimony at trial.  Conducting a detailed Rule 702 analysis and recounting significant portions of the expert’s testimony, which generally opined that casings and bullets collected from the crime scene were fired from a pistol seized from the defendant, the court determined that the testimony was based on sufficient facts or data and was the product of reliable principles and methods which the expert applied reliably to the facts of the case, as required under Rule 702.

(5) Finally, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the first-degree murder charge on the basis of insufficient evidence of malice, premeditation, and deliberation or that the defendant was the perpetrator.  The court found that the defendant had both the opportunity and the capability to commit the murder, as evidenced by GPS data placing him at the crime scene and witness testimony that on the day in question the defendant brandished a firearm matching the murder weapon.  Evidence tending to show that the defendant fired three shots into the victim’s head, two of which were from close range, was sufficient on the issues of malice and premeditation and deliberation.

State v. Bailey, 374 N.C. 332 (May. 1, 2020)

This Carteret County drug case involved a challenge to a search warrant for the defendant’s home. A detective observed what he believed to be a drug transaction occur in a parking lot between a Jeep and another car. He knew the occupants of the Jeep and their address. The detective also knew that they had previously been involved in illegal drug sales. Both cars were followed by police. The car was stopped for traffic violations, and the woman inside ultimately admitted to having purchased heroin in the parking lot from one of the people inside the Jeep. The Jeep was separately followed to the occupants’ residence. Officers obtained a warrant to search the house, and the defendant (who lived at the house, but was not one of the occupants of the Jeep) was charged with trafficking in cocaine. His motion to suppress was denied and he pled guilty, reserving his right to appeal the denial of the motion. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed (here) [Jeff Welty blogged about that decision, here]. Judge Zachary dissented and would have found that the warrant application failed to establish a nexus to the home, comparing the facts to those of State v. Campbell, 282 N.C .125 (1972) (conclusory allegations of drug dealing without underlying facts tying the home to criminal activity were insufficient to establish nexus to search residence). The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed.

The court agreed that a search warrant for a residence must demonstrate some nexus between the suspected criminal activity and the home. “Such connection need not be direct, but cannot be merely conclusory.” Slip op. at 6. Comparing cases, the court determined that the affidavit here established a sufficient connection to the home. The detective observed a probable drug transaction and was familiar with the subjects in the Jeep, including their drug histories and address. Coupled with the close-in-time admission from the buyer that she purchased heroin from one of the men and the fact that another officer followed the Jeep from the site of the suspected buy to the residence, the search warrant affidavit supported an inference that drugs or evidence of drug dealing would be found in the home. In the court’s words:

It is true that [the detective’s] affidavit did not contain any evidence that drugs were actually being sold at the apartment. But our case law makes clear that such evidence was not necessary for probable cause to exist. Rather, the affiant was simply required to demonstrate some nexus between the apartment . . . and criminal activity. Id. at 10 (emphasis in original).

The warrant was therefore supported by probable cause and comported with the Fourth Amendment. Concluding, the court observed: “In so holding, we break no new legal ground, and instead apply well-established principles of law to the facts presented.” Id. at 11.

State v. Frederick, 371 N.C. 547 (Oct. 26, 2018)

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 814 S.E.2d 855 (2018), the court per curiam affirmed. The Court of Appeals had held, over a dissent, that the search warrant of the defendant’s residence was supported by probable cause. The warrant was supported by the following information: A detective received information from a reliable confidential source regarding a mid-level drug dealer who sold MDMA, heroin, and crystal methamphetamine. The source had previously provided truthful information that the detective could corroborate, and the source was familiar with the packaging and sale of the drugs in question. The source had assisted the detective with the purchase of MDMA one week prior to the issuance of the search warrant. For that purchase, the detective gave the source money to purchase the drugs. The source met a middleman with whom he then traveled to the defendant’s residence. The detective saw the middleman enter the residence and return to the source after approximately two minutes. The detective found this conduct indicative of drug trafficking activity based on his training and experience. The source then met with the detective, and provided him with MDMA. A subsequent purchase of drugs occurred 72 hours prior to the issuance of the search warrant. The details of that transaction were very similar, except that the officer also saw two males enter the residence and exit approximately two minutes later, conduct he believed to be indicative of drug trafficking activity. The Court of Appeals held that this was sufficient to establish probable cause.

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 791 S.E.2d 505 (2016), the court affirmed in a per curiam opinion. Over a dissent, the Court of Appeals had held that the search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause. At issue was the reliability of information provided by a confidential informant. Applying the totality of the circumstances test, and although the informant did not have a “track record” of providing reliable information, the court found that the informant was sufficiently reliable. The court noted that the information provided by the informant was against her penal interest (she admitted purchasing and possessing marijuana); the informant had a face-to-face communication with the officer, during which he could assess her demeanor; the face-to-face conversation significantly increase the likelihood that the informant would be held accountable for a tip that later proved to be false; the informant had first-hand knowledge of the information she conveyed; the police independently corroborated certain information she provided; and the information was not stale (the informant reported information obtained two days prior).

State v. Lowe, 369 N.C. 360 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Affirming the Court of Appeals, the court held that a search warrant authorizing a search of the premises where the defendant was arrested was supported by probable cause. The affidavit stated that officers received an anonymous tip that Michael Turner was selling, using and storing narcotics at his house; that Turner had a history of drug related arrests; and that a detective discovered marijuana residue in the trash from Turner’s residence, along with correspondence addressed to Turner. Under the totality of the circumstances there was probable cause to search the home for controlled substances.

State v. Allman, 369 N.C. 292 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that because the magistrate had a substantial basis to find that probable cause existed to issue the search warrant, the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. The affidavit stated that an officer stopped a car driven by Jeremy Black. Black’s half-brother Sean Whitehead was a passenger. After K-9 alerted on the car, a search found 8.1 ounces of marijuana packaged in a Ziploc bag and $1600 in cash. The Ziploc bag containing marijuana was inside a vacuum sealed bag, which in turn was inside a manila envelope. Both individuals had previously been charged on several occasions with drug crimes. Whitehead maintained that the two lived at Twin Oaks Dr. The officer went to that address and found that although neither individual lived there, their mother did. The mother informed the officer that the men lived at 4844 Acres Drive and had not lived at Twin Oaks Drive for years. Another officer went to the Acres Drive premises and determined that its description matched that given by the mother and that a truck outside the house was registered to Black. The officer had experience with drug investigations and, based on his training and experience, knew that drug dealers typically keep evidence of drug dealing at their homes. Supported by the affidavit, the officer applied for and received a search warrant to search the Acres Drive home. Drugs and paraphernalia were found. Based on the quantity of marijuana and the amount of cash found in the car, the fact that the marijuana appeared to be packaged for sale, and Whitehead’s and Black’s criminal histories, it was reasonable for the magistrate to infer that the brothers were drug dealers. Based on the mother’s statement that the two lived at the Acres Drive premises, the fact that her description of that home matched its actual appearance, and that one of the trucks there was registered to Black, it was reasonable for the magistrate to infer that the two lived there. And based on the insight from the officer’s training and experience that evidence of drug dealing was likely to be found at their home and that Whitehead lied about where the two lived, it was reasonable for the magistrate to infer that there could be evidence of drug dealing at the Acres Drive premises. Although nothing in the affidavit directly connected the defendant’s home with evidence of drug dealing, federal circuit courts have held that a suspect drug dealer’s lie about his address in combination with other evidence of drug dealing can give rise to probable cause to search his home. Thus, under the totality of the circumstances there was probable cause to support search warrant.

In this Durham County case, defendant appealed after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted drug trafficking after denial of his motion to suppress the results of a search warrant for lack of probable cause. The Court of Appeals found no error. 

In April of 2019, Durham Police obtained an anticipatory search warrant for defendant’s residence based upon information from a confidential informant and surveillance of a vehicle associated with drug trafficking in the Durham area. After a controlled buy, police observed defendant and another man go to the property identified in the anticipatory warrant, and seized large amounts of currency, cocaine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. 

The Court of Appeals took up defendant’s argument, first referencing State v. Bailey, 374 N.C. 332 (2020), while explaining that a nexus between the illegal activity and the residence being searched must be established when a search warrant is sought in connection with illegal activity observed outside the residence. Here, the court walked through the facts in the affidavit and application for the search warrant, concluding that “[a]s in Bailey, these facts support a reasonable inference that Defendant was engaged in drug trafficking and establishes a nexus between the drug trafficking and Defendant’s residence.” Slip Op. at 9.

In this Henderson County case, defendant appealed after pleading guilty to injury to real property, felony breaking and entering, safecracking, and related offenses, arguing error in denying his motion to suppress because officers remained too long in the curtilage of his residence after an unsuccessful knock and talk. The Court of Appeals majority found no error. 

In February of 2021, police officers responded to a report of a break-in to an ATM along with theft of several cartons of cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets. Soon thereafter, an employee from the State Lottery Commission informed police that someone attempted to redeem one of the stolen tickets at a general store. Police obtained surveillance from the store, showing a black dodge Durango with a missing front bumper and distinctive rims. An officer spotted the vehicle nearby, and performed a knock and talk at the residence. No one answered the door, but officers observed cigarettes and a lottery ticket matching the stolen items sitting on the front seat. After running the VIN, officers determined the vehicle was displaying fake Maryland plates but was actually registered to defendant, who was on supervised probation. Eventually officers noticed someone emerge from the residence and take things from the Durango, finding the cigarettes and lottery ticket on the ground. The officers performed a sweep of the house, finding defendant inside, and searched the house based on defendant’s probation status. They later obtained a search warrant for the Durango, finding cigarettes and tools related to the break-in.

Considering defendant’s argument, the Court of Appeals noted that the officer had probable cause to seek the search warrant before the knock and talk occurred based on the description of the vehicle and the fake plates, along with the cigarettes and lottery ticket he observed inside. The court also pointed to State v. Treece, 129 N.C. App. 93 (1998), for the proposition that officers may secure a scene to protect evidence. Slip Op. at 11. Here, the nexus of the vehicle matching the description, the fake plates, and the proximity to the store where the attempt to redeem the lottery ticket occurred established probable cause for the search regardless of the outcome of the knock and talk. The court also noted that defendant was under supervised probation and subject to warrantless searches, meaning the items inside would have been discovered and admissible under the inevitable discovery doctrine.  

Judge Wood dissented, and would have found error in denying defendant’s motion to suppress. 

In this Vance County case, the state appealed from an order granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized from his person and inside a house. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the matter to the trial court. 

While attempting to arrest defendant for an outstanding warrant, officers of the Henderson Police Department noticed the odor of marijuana coming from inside the house where defendant and others were located. All of the individuals were known to be members of a criminal gang. After frisking defendant, an officer noticed baggies of heroin in his open coat pocket. The officers also performed a protective sweep of the residence, observing digital scales and other drug paraphernalia inside. After a search of defendant due to the baggies observed in plain view during the frisk, officers found heroin and marijuana on his person, along with almost $2,000 in fives, tens and twenties. After receiving a search warrant for the house, the officers found heroin, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and firearms inside. Defendant was indicted on drug possession, criminal enterprise, and possession of firearm by a felon charges. Before trial, the trial court granted defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that there was no probable cause to detain defendant or to enter the residence. 

The Court of Appeals first established the basis for detaining and frisking defendant, explaining that officers had a “reasonable suspicion” for frisking defendant under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), as they had a valid arrest warrant for defendant for a crime involving a weapon, knew he was a member of a gang, and saw another individual leave the house wearing a ballistic vest. Slip Op. at 14. Applying the “plain view” doctrine as articulated in State v. Tripp, 381 N.C. 617 (2022), and State v. Grice, 367 N.C. 753 (2015), the court found that the search was constitutional and the arresting officer’s eventual seizure of the “plastic baggies he inadvertently and ‘plainly viewed’” was lawful. Slip Op. at 16. 

The court then turned to the trial court’s ruling that the warrantless entry of officers into the house to conduct a protective sweep was unlawful. Noting applicable precedent, the court explained “[t]he Supreme Court of the United States, the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and this Court have all recognized and affirmed a law enforcement officer’s ability to conduct a protective sweep both as an exigent circumstance and for officer’s safety when incident to arrest.” Id. at 16-17. The court found that the officers had both justifications here, as defendant was a member of a gang and known for violence involving weapons, and the officers were unsure whether any other people remained inside the house. 

Finally, the court examined the probable cause supporting the search warrant for the house. Defendant argued that the smell of marijuana could not support probable cause due to it being indistinguishable from industrial hemp. Looking to applicable precedent such as State v. Teague, 2022-NCCOA-600, ¶ 58 (2022), the court noted that the Industrial Hemp Act did not modify the state’s burden of proof, but also noted that like in Teague, the smell of marijuana was not the only basis for probable cause in this case. Slip Op. at 25. Here the court found the drugs in defendant’s pocket and the drug paraphernalia observed during the protective sweep also supported probable cause. 

In this Johnson County Case, defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from his cellphone. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion.

Defendant was convicted of burglary, robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, and habitual felony status for a home invasion in September of 2018. The evidence supporting defendant’s conviction came from a search of his cellphone found in a vehicle tied to the home invasion. Defendant argued at trial that the search warrant for his cellphone was not supported by probable cause, but the trial court denied defendant’s motion to suppress.

The Court of Appeals explained that probable cause to support the warrant came from the totality of the circumstances around the cellphone. Here, the cellphone was found in a car identified by an eyewitness as leaving the scene; the car was owned by defendant’s cousin. This same cousin told law enforcement that defendant’s was the owner of a white LG cellphone, matching the phone found in the car after a search. The car also contained a distinctive Tourister case stolen from the home in question. The court found that “[u]nder the totality of the circumstances, these facts show a nexus between [d]efendant’s white LG cellphone and the home invasion.” Slip Op. at 8.

An acquaintance of the defendant contacted the local police department about several posts made on a Facebook account with the defendant’s name. The department used screenshots of the Facebook posts to obtain an arrest warrant for communicating threats and later obtained a search warrant of the defendant’s home to seize items related to the crime. The search warrant application included screenshots of the Facebook posts and outlined the defendant’s prior encounters with the police department.

One of the items seized in the search was the defendant’s cell phone, on which images of alleged child pornography were found. These images led to a subsequent search warrant and search of the defendant’s home, ultimately leading to the defendant being charged and indicted with five counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a child. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, and the defendant ultimately pled guilty to all five counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a child, having given proper notice of his intention to appeal.

On appeal, the defendant first argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence because the affidavit to the warrant application did not establish probable cause he committed the designated offense. In rejecting this argument, the Court of Appeals noted that the affidavit included screenshots of Facebook posts allegedly made by the defendant which contained content relating to threats, violence, and referencing schools, as well as information of defendant’s prior encounters with the police, including an arrest for trespassing at a nearby elementary school. The Court thus concluded that the information was sufficient to support a magistrate’s finding, under the totality of the circumstances test, that evidence of a crime may be found at the place to be searched and in the items to be seized.

The defendant next argued that the information listed in the affidavit was stale because it failed to establish when the Facebook posts were made or discovered. More specifically, the defendant contended that the screenshots of the Facebook posts did not include dates and times, nor did the affidavit provide information as to when the acquaintance provided the information to the police. The search warrant provided the items to be seized were electronic devices to include cell phones, computers, tablets, hard drive devices, USB drives, CDs, and disks; written documentation to include any handwritten notes, printed notes, photographs, or other documents; and weapons to include handguns, long guns, weapons of mass destruction, or explosives. The Court of Appeals concluded that because the items to be seized included items with enduring utility, the information was not stale, despite the lack of date and time information.

The defendant’s final argument was that the trial court erred because its order did not find that the affidavit supplied probable cause to believe that the designated crimes had occurred or were about to occur. However, the trial court explicitly found that the affidavit established probable cause in its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

In this drug trafficking case, a warrant to search the defendant’s person and vehicle was supported by probable cause. After a three-month investigation prompted by a confidential informant’s tip that the defendant was dealing heroin, Detective Cole obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s residence for evidence of drug dealing. The warrant also authorized the search of a specified Range Rover and of the defendant. On appeal the defendant argued that the searches of his person and vehicle were not supported by probable cause. He conceded that there was probable cause to search the house. The court rejected the defendant’s argument noting that a confidential informant known to law enforcement stated that the defendant was using the Range Rover to transport heroin and other drugs to and from the residence and was selling drugs from the vehicle. The ensuing investigation included authorized GPS tracking of the Range Rover and visual surveillance of the defendant and the vehicle. It revealed that the defendant appeared to reside at the residence and that he frequented locations known for drug sales. Additionally at one point the defendant was stopped in the vehicle which displayed a fictitious or altered tag and when the defendant’s driving privileges had been suspended or revoked. Officers performed “trash pulls” at the residence which found paraphernalia that tested positive for heroin and cocaine, as well as bills and other papers indicating that the defendant lived there. The most recent trash pull occurred within one week of the search. These facts support the trial court’s conclusion that there was probable cause to issue the warrant to search the defendant and the Range Rover. The confidential informant’s statements were corroborated by a month’s-long investigation, the drug evidence recovered from the multiple trash pulls was not stale, and the allegations sufficiently linked the defendant and the Range Rover to the residence and the known drug evidence.

In this drug case, the court held that the affidavit provided sufficient probable cause for a search of the residence in question. The affidavit indicated that after the officer received an anonymous tip that drugs were being sold at the residence, he conducted a “refuse investigation” at the premises. The defendant asserted that this information was stale and could not properly support issuance of the warrant. The court noted that although the affidavit does not state when or over what period of time the tipster observed criminal activity at the residence, when the tipster relayed the information to the police or the exact date when the officer conducted the refuse search, the affidavit was based on more than just this information. Specifically, it included details regarding database searches indicating that the defendant had a waste and water utility account at the residence, that the defendant lived at the residence, that the officer was familiar with the residence and the defendant from his previous assignment as a patrol officer, and recounted the defendant’s prior drug charges. To the extent the information in the anonymous tip was stale, it was later corroborated by the refuse search in which the officer found a cup containing marijuana residue, plastic bags containing marijuana residue and a butane gas container that the officer said is consistent with potential manufacturing of butane hash oil. Also the affidavit stated that the officer conducted the refuse investigation on Thursday, “regular refuse day.” A common sense reading of the affidavit would indicate that this referred to the most recent Thursday, the date the affidavit was completed. The court continued noting that even if the anonymous tip was so stale as to be unreliable, the marijuana-related items obtained from the refuse search, the defendant’s criminal history, and the database searches linking the defendant to the residence provided a substantial basis upon which the magistrate could determine that probable cause existed.

In this felony counterfeit trademark goods case, the court held that a search warrant was supported by probable cause. A Special Agent obtained a search warrant to search the residence and vehicles at 13606 Coram Place in Charlotte, North Carolina. The affidavit indicated that the Agent had 26 years of law enforcement experience and investigated thousands of counterfeit merchandise cases. It stated that in May 2013 a County police officer informed the Agent that the defendant was found in possession of possible counterfeit items and was charged with violating the peddlers license ordinance. The items seized were later confirmed to be counterfeit. In October 2013, as part of a compliance check/counterfeit merchandise interdiction operation at a shipping hub in Charlotte, the Agent intercepted two packages from a known counterfeit merchandise distributor in China, addressed to the defendant at the residence in question. The boxes contained counterfeit items. The Agent attempted a controlled delivery of the packages at the residence but no one was home. Two other packages previously delivered by the shipper were on the porch. The Agent contacted the defendant, who agreed to meet with him and agreed to bring the two packages. The defendant consented to a search of the packages and they were found to contain counterfeit merchandise. The defendant said that she did not realize the merchandise was counterfeit and voluntarily surrendered all of the merchandise. She was issued a warning. In November 2013, while the Agent was working as part of a compliance check at a football game, the defendant was found selling counterfeit items. The defendant was charged with felony criminal use of counterfeit trademark and pled guilty to the lesser misdemeanor charge. During another compliance check outside of the Charlotte Convention Center in May 2015 the Agent found a booth with a large display of counterfeit items. The booth was unmanned but business cards listed the owner as “Tammy.” The Agent verified that the address listed in the search warrant was the premises of the defendant, Tammy Renee Howard. During a search of the premises pursuant to the warrant at issue hundreds of counterfeit items with an approximate retail value of $2 million were seized. The defendant was indicted and unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence seized pursuant to the search. The defendant was convicted and appealed. On appeal the defendant asserted that the affidavit failed to contain sufficient evidence to support a reasonable belief that evidence of counterfeit items would be found at the premises. The affidavit included evidence of counterfeit merchandise being delivered to the premises, evidence that the defendant continued to conduct her illegal business after warnings and arrests, and evidence that the officer confirmed that the defendant resided at the premises. The defendant also argued that the evidence in the affidavit was stale, noting that the only evidence linking the premises with criminal activity allegedly took place in October 2013, some 20 months prior to the issuance of the warrant. However the evidence showed that the defendant was conducting a business involving counterfeit goods over a number of years at numerous locations and involving the need to acquire counterfeit merchandise from China. The court however found that a remand was required because the trial court failed to provide any rationale during its ruling from the bench to explain or support the denial of the motion. It thus remanded for the trial court to make appropriate conclusions of law to substantiate its ruling.

In this attempted murder and robbery case, a search warrant was supported by probable cause. On appeal, the defendant argued that the warrant lacked probable cause because a statement by a confidential informant provided the only basis to believe the evidence might be found at the premises in question and the supporting affidavit failed to establish the informant’s reliability. The court disagreed. The detective’s affidavit detailed a meeting between an officer and the confidential informant in which the informant stated that he witnessed described individuals running from the crime scene and said that one of them entered the premises in question. The informant’s statement corroborated significant matters previously known to the police department, including the general time and location of the offenses, the victim’s physical description of his assailants, and the suspect’s possession of items similar in appearance to those stolen from the victim. The affidavit therefore demonstrated the informant’s reliability.

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized during the executions of warrants to search his rental cabin and truck for stolen goods connected to a breaking and entering of a horse trailer. The defendant argued that the search warrant affidavit establish no nexus between the cabin and the criminal activity. The court found however “that under the totality of the circumstances, the accumulation of reasonable inferences drawn from information contained within the affidavit sufficiently linked the criminal activity to defendant’s cabin.” Among other things, the affidavit established that when one of the property owners hired the defendant to work at their farm, several tools and pieces of equipment went missing and were never recovered; immediately before the defendant moved out of state, someone broke into their daughter’s car and stole property; the defendant rented a cabin close to their property around the same time as the reported breaking and entering and larceny; and the defendant had prior convictions for first-degree burglary and felony larceny. Based on this and other evidence discussed in detail in the court’s opinion, the affidavit established a sufficient nexus between the criminal activity and the defendant’s cabin.

In this sexual exploitation of a minor case, the information contained in an officer’s affidavit was sufficient to provide probable cause for issuance of a search warrant for child pornography. In this case, an officer and certified computer forensic examiner identified child pornography through the use of a SHA1 algorithm; the officer downloaded and reviewed some of the images and compared SHA1 values to confirm that the files were child pornography. Although less detailed than the officer’s testimony at the hearing, the affidavit went into technical detail regarding law enforcement methods and software used to identify and track transmissions of child pornography over the Internet. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the affidavit’s identification of alleged pornographic images as known child pornography based upon computer information was insufficient and that the pictures themselves must be provided with the affidavit. 

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