State v. Hicks, 243 N.C. App. 628 (Oct. 20, 2015)

In this methamphetamine case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for discovery sanctions after the State destroyed evidence seized from the defendant’s home, without an order authorizing destruction, and despite a court order that the evidence be preserved. In its order denying the motion, the trial court found that the SBI destroyed the evidence under the belief that a destruction order was in place, that the defendant’s preservation motion was filed some 30 days after the evidence had been destroyed, and that the item in question—an HCL generator used to manufacture meth—is not regularly preserved. The court concluded that the record contained “ample evidence” to support the trial court’s conclusion that law enforcement had a good faith belief that the items were to be destroyed and did not act in bad faith when they initiated destruction.