State v. Waycaster, ___ N.C. App. ___, 818 S.E.2d 189 (Aug. 7, 2018)

aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Aug. 14, 2020)

In a case where the defendant was convicted of interfering with an electronic monitoring device, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court committed plain error by admitting hearsay evidence regarding the ankle monitor in question. The defendant was subjected to electronic monitoring as a condition of probation. The defendant’s electronic monitoring equipment was installed by BI Total Monitoring and included an ankle monitor, a beacon that uses a GPS system to track the monitor, and a charger. The ankle monitor and beacon have serial numbers specific to the probationer. BI Total Monitoring’s computer software, BI Total Access, keeps logs of which serial numbers are assigned to each probationer. When an ankle monitor is not in the beacon’s range, it transmits a GPS signal that enables the probation officer to log into a computer program and see where the probationer is located. When a probationer removes the ankle monitor, BI Total Monitoring notifies the probation office. On-call probation officer Ashe received an alert that the defendant’s ankle monitor strap had been tampered with. Ashe used the GPS to locate the monitor miles from the defendant’s residence, in a ditch off of the road. He took the monitor to his office, where he verified that it was assigned and installed on the defendant. On appeal the defendant argued that the trial court committed plain error when it allowed Ashe to provide testimony based on GPS tracking evidence and simultaneously prepared reports to establish that the ankle monitor that he found was the same monitor that had been installed on the defendant. The defendant argued that this testimony constituted inadmissible hearsay. The court disagreed, finding that the evidence in question fell within the Rule 803(6) exception for business records.