State v. Anthony, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Jun. 2, 2020)

In a case involving charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a weapon on educational property, the defendant failed to preserve for appellate review his argument that the trial court erred by denying his pretrial suppression motions related to the lawfulness of a traffic stop and a subsequent weapons frisk.  At trial, the defendant objected to an officer’s testimony regarding the officer’s discovery of a handgun in the defendant’s pocket, but the defendant did not move to strike the testimony.  Citing precedent with regard to situations where the inadmissibility of testimony is not indicated by a question but becomes apparent by some feature of a witness’s answer, the court stated that the “[d]efendant was obligated to move to strike [the officer’s] answer after objecting for the record and before the jury to preserve his objection.”  Because he did not move to strike at trial or specifically argue plain error on appeal, the defendant failed to preserve his arguments concerning the admission of evidence about the handgun.

The court went on to reject the defendant’s argument that his trial counsel was ineffective during the pretrial hearing on the suppression motion related to the weapons frisk.  During that hearing, defense counsel expressed the view that the officer had the reasonable and articulable suspicion necessary to conduct a frisk upon seeing a bulge in the defendant’s pocket while arguing that the officer unlawfully had decided to conduct the frisk prior to seeing the bulge.  Noting that the defendant could not show prejudice and that the trial court did not rely on defense counsel’s statement when ruling on the motion, the court overruled the defendant’s IAC argument.