State v. Lewis, 365 N.C. 488 (Apr. 13, 2012)

Affirming the court of appeals, the court held that on a retrial the trial court erred by applying the law of the case and denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. At the defendant’s first trial, he unsuccessfully moved to suppress the victim’s identification as unduly suggestive. That issue was affirmed on appeal. At the retrial, the defense filed new motions to suppress on the same grounds. However, at the pretrial hearings on these motions, the defense introduced new evidence relevant to the reliability of the identification. The State successfully argued that the law of the case governed and that the defendant’s motions must be denied. After the defendant was again convicted, he appealed and the court of appeals reversed on this issue. Affirming that ruling the court noted that “the law of the case doctrine does not apply when the evidence presented at a subsequent proceeding is different from that presented on a former appeal.” It then went on to affirm the court of appeals’ holding that the retrial court erred in applying the doctrine of the law of the case to defendant’s motion to suppress at the retrial.