State v. Baskins, ___ N.C. App. ___, 818 S.E.2d 381 (Aug. 7, 2018)

In a case in which the court determined that the defendant received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, the court considered whether there was reasonable suspicion for the vehicle stop and found there was none. Having found that appellate counsel’s performance was deficient, the court moved on to the prejudice prong of the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The analysis required it to evaluate how it would have ruled on direct appeal with respect to the defendant’s claim that there was no reasonable suspicion for the stop. Here, the conclusion that the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle was based solely on the following facts: officers saw the defendant and a woman exit a China Bus carrying small bags at the “same bus stop that a lot of heroin is being transported from New York to the Greensboro area” and while waiting for his ride at an adjacent gas station, the defendant briefly looked towards an officer’s unmarked vehicle and “shooed” that vehicle away, at which point the defendant’s ride pulled into the parking lot. These facts do not support a finding of reasonable suspicion, particularly where the defendant was entirely unknown to the officers.