State v. Gullette, ___ N.C. App. ___, 796 S.E.2d 396 (Feb. 21, 2017)

In this drug trafficking case, the defendant did not preserve for appellate review his argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress in-court and out-of-court identifications. The trial court denied the defendant’s pretrial motion to suppress, based on alleged violations of the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act (EIRA), concluding that the current version of the EIRA did not apply to the defendant’s case because the statute came into force after the identification at issue. When the relevant evidence was offered at trial, the defendant did not object. It is well-settled that a trial court’s evidentiary ruling on a pretrial motion to suppress is not sufficient to preserve the issue of admissibility for appeal unless the defendant renews the objection during trial. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he could raise the issue on appeal because the trial court failed to apply a statutory mandate in the EIRA and that violations of statutory mandates are preserved without the need for an objection at trial. It concluded that the trial court did not violate any statutory mandate because the mandates of the statute only arise if the court determines that the EIRA applies to the case in question.