State v. Icard, 363 N.C. 303 (Jun. 18, 2009)

Under the totality circumstances, the defendant was seized by officers and the resulting search of her purse was illegal. The officers mounted a show of authority when (1) an officer, who was armed and in uniform, initiated the encounter, telling the defendant, an occupant of a parked truck, that the area was known for drug crimes and prostitution; (2) the officer called for backup assistance; (3) the officer initially illuminated the truck with blue lights; (4) a second officer illuminated the defendant’s side of the truck with take-down lights; (5) the first officer opened the defendant’s door, giving her no choice but to respond to him; and (6) the officer instructed the defendant to exit the truck and bring her purse. A reasonable person in defendant’s place would not have believed that she was free to leave or otherwise terminate the encounter and thus the trial court erred when it concluded that the defendant’s interaction with the officers was consensual.