State v. Hargett, 241 N.C. App. 121 (May. 19, 2015)

In the course of rejecting the defendant’s ineffective assistance claim related to preserving a denial of a motion to suppress, the court held that no prejudice occurred because the trial court properly denied the motion. The officer received a report from an identified tipster that a window at a residence appeared to have been tampered with and the owner of the residence was incarcerated. After the officer confirmed that a window screen had been pushed aside and the window was open, he repeatedly knocked on the door. Initially there was no response. Finally, an individual inside asked, “Who’s there?” The officer responded, “It’s the police.” The individual indicated, “Okay,” came to the door and opened it. When the officer asked the person’s identity, the individual gave a very long, slow response, finally gave his name but either would not or could not provide any ID. When asked who owned the house, he gave no answer. Although the individual was asked repeatedly to keep his hands visible, he continued to put them in his pockets. These facts were sufficient to create reasonable suspicion that the defendant might have broken into the home and also justified the frisk. During the lawful frisk, the officer discovered and identified baggies of marijuana in the defendant’s sock by plain feel.