Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

Instructions

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 10/26/2021
E.g., 10/26/2021
Displays are limited to 500 cases at a time; to see all relevant cases, narrow results by entering search terms or date/court limitations or clicking on a table of contents subcategory.

In this case, the Court held, in an opinion by Justice Kagan, that the flight of a person suspected of a misdemeanor offense does not categorically justify an officer’s warrantless entry into a home.  Instead, an officer must consider all the circumstances in a case involving the pursuit...

The respondent in this case, a non-Indian, was detained and searched by a tribal police officer on a public highway that traversed the Crow Reservation in Montana. The officer discovered the respondent in his truck on the roadside, noticed that he had watery, bloodshot eyes and saw two...

In this case involving a welfare check that resulted in officers entering petitioner Caniglia’s home without a warrant and seizing his firearms, the court held that its decision in Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973) upholding as reasonable a “caretaking search” of an impounded...

Law enforcement officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant early in the morning at an apartment complex in New Mexico. They noticed the plaintiff in the parking lot and realized she was not the subject of the warrant but wished to speak with her. As they approached, the plaintiff...

In this Kansas driving with a revoked license case, the Court held that when a police officer knows that the registered owner of a vehicle has a revoked driver’s license and lacks information negating an inference that the owner is the driver of the vehicle, a traffic stop is supported by...

The petitioner appealed from his impaired driving conviction on the basis that the State violated the Fourth Amendment by withdrawing his blood while he was unconscious without a warrant following his arrest for impaired driving. A Wisconsin state statute permits such blood draws. The Wisconsin...

The Court reversed and remanded a decision by the Ninth Circuit, holding that because police officers had probable cause to arrest Respondent Bartlett, his First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim fails as a matter of law. Russell Bartlett sued petitioners—two police officers—alleging that they...

The Government conducts a search under the Fourth Amendment when it accesses historical cell phone records that provide a comprehensive chronicle of the user’s past movements. Police officers arrested four men suspected of robbing Radio Shack and TMobile stores in Detroit. One of the men...

The automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment does not permit an officer, uninvited and without a warrant, to enter the curtilage of a home to search a vehicle parked there. Officer McCall saw the driver of an orange and black motorcycle with an extended frame commit a traffic infraction. The...

Pennsylvania State Troopers pulled over a car driven by Terrence Byrd. Byrd was the only person in the car. During the traffic stop the troopers learned that the car was rented and that Byrd was not listed on the rental agreement as an authorized driver. For this reason, the troopers told Byrd...

Ruling in a civil suit against the District of Columbia and five of its police officers brought by individuals arrested for holding a raucous, late-night party in a house they did not have permission to enter, the Court held that the officers had probable cause to arrest the partygoers and were...

The Fourth Amendment governs a §1983 claim for unlawful pretrial detention even beyond the start of legal process. According to the petitioner’s complaint, he was arrested without probable cause and based solely on his possession of pills that had field-tested negative for an illegal substance....

In three consolidated cases the Court held that while a warrantless breath test of a motorist lawfully arrested for drunk driving is permissible as a search incident to arrest, a warrantless blood draw is not. It concluded: “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests...

In three consolidated cases the Court held that while a warrantless breath test of a motorist lawfully arrested for drunk driving is permissible as a search incident to arrest, a warrantless blood draw is not. It concluded: “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests...

The attenuation doctrine applies when an officer makes an unconstitutional investigatory stop, learns that the suspect is subject to a valid arrest warrant, and proceeds to arrest the suspect and seize incriminating evidence during a search incident to that arrest. An officer stopped the...

(1) In this case where a group of motel owners and a lodging association challenged a provision of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) requiring motel owners to turn over to the police hotel registry information, the Court held that facial challenges under the Fourth Amendment are not...

A dog sniff that prolongs the time reasonably required for a traffic stop violates the Fourth Amendment. After an officer completed a traffic stop, including issuing the driver a warning ticket and returning all documents, the officer asked for permission to walk his police dog around the...

A dog sniff that prolongs the time reasonably required for a traffic stop violates the Fourth Amendment. After an officer completed a traffic stop, including issuing the driver a warning ticket and returning all documents, the officer asked for permission to walk his police dog around the...

Reversing the North Carolina courts, the Court held that under Jones and Jardines, satellite based monitoring for sex offenders constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court stated: “a State … conducts a search when it attaches a device to a person’s body, without...

Affirming State v. Heien, 366 N.C. 271 (Dec. 14, 2012), the Court held that because an officer’s mistake of law was reasonable, it could support a vehicle stop. In Heien, an officer stopped a vehicle because one of its two brake lights was out, but a court later determined that...

The police may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested. This decision involved a pair of cases in which both defendants were arrested and cell phones were seized. In both cases, officers examined electronic data on the...

The police may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested. This decision involved a pair of cases in which both defendants were arrested and cell phones were seized. In both cases, officers examined electronic data on the...

The police may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested. This decision involved a pair of cases in which both defendants were arrested and cell phones were seized. In both cases, officers examined electronic data on the...

Officers did not use excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment when using deadly force to end a high speed car chase. The chase ended when officers shot and killed the fleeing driver. The driver’s daughter filed a § 1983 action, alleging that the officers used excessive force in...

The Court held in this “close case” that an officer had reasonable suspicion to make a vehicle stop based on a 911 call. After a 911 caller reported that a truck had run her off the road, a police officer located the truck the caller identified and executed a traffic stop. As officers approached...

Consent to search a home by an abused woman who lived there was valid when the consent was given after her male partner, who objected, was arrested and removed from the premises by the police. Cases firmly establish that police officers may search jointly occupied premises if one of the...

The defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated by the taking of a DNA cheek swab as part of booking procedures. When the defendant was arrested in April 2009 for menacing a group of people with a shotgun and charged in state court with assault, he was processed for detention in...

The Court held that in drunk driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant. After stopping the defendant’s vehicle for speeding and crossing the...

Using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner’s porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s reasoning was based on the theory that the officers engaged in a physical intrusion of a constitutionally protected area. Applying that...

Using a drug-sniffing dog on a homeowner’s porch to investigate the contents of the home is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s reasoning was based on the theory that the officers engaged in a physical intrusion of a constitutionally protected area. Applying that...

Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981) (officers executing a search warrant may detain occupants on the premises while the search is conducted), does not justify the detention of occupants beyond the immediate vicinity of the premises covered by a search warrant. In this case, the...

Florida v. Harris, 568 U.S. 237 (Feb. 19, 2013)

Concluding that a dog sniff “was up to snuff,” the Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court and held that the dog sniff in this case provided probable cause to search a vehicle. The Court rejected the holding of the Florida Supreme Court which would have required the prosecution to present, in...

Concluding that a dog sniff “was up to snuff,” the Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court and held that the dog sniff in this case provided probable cause to search a vehicle. The Court rejected the holding of the Florida Supreme Court which would have required the prosecution to present, in...

Reasonable suspicion is not required for a close visual inspection of arrestees who will be held in the general population of a detention facility. The petitioner was arrested and taken to the Burlington County Detention Center. Burlington County jail procedures required every arrestee to shower...

Howes v. Fields, 565 U.S. 499 (Feb. 21, 2012)

The Sixth Circuit erroneously concluded that a prisoner is in custody within the meaning of Miranda if the prisoner is taken aside and questioned about events that occurred outside the prison. While incarcerated, Randall Fields was escorted by a corrections officer to a conference room where two...

The government’s installation of a GPS tracking device on a vehicle and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements on public streets constitutes a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Suspecting that the defendant was involved in drug trafficking, the government...

Ryburn v. Huff, 565 U.S. 469 (Jan. 23, 2012)

The Court reversed a Ninth Circuit ruling that officers were not entitled to qualified immunity in a § 1983 action that arose after the officers entered a home without a warrant. When officers responded to a call from a high school, the principal informed them that a student, Vincent Huff, was...

The Due Process Clause does not require a preliminary judicial inquiry into the reliability of an eyewitness identification when the identification was not procured under unnecessarily suggestive circumstances arranged by law enforcement. New Hampshire police received a call reporting that an...

Bobby v. Dixon, 565 U.S. 23 (Nov. 7, 2011)

The Court, per curiam, held that the Sixth Circuit erroneously concluded that a state supreme court ruling affirming the defendant’s murder conviction was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. The defendant and an accomplice murdered the victim,...

In this North Carolina case, the Court held, in a five-to-four decision, that the age of a child subjected to police questioning is relevant to the Miranda custody analysis. J.D.B. was a 13-year-old, seventh-grade middle school student when he was removed from his classroom by a...

The exclusionary rule (a deterrent sanction baring the prosecution from introducing evidence obtained by way of a Fourth Amendment violation) does not apply when the police conduct a search in compliance with binding precedent that is later overruled. Alabama officers conducted a routine traffic...

In this North Carolina case, the Court held, in a five-to-four decision, that the age of a child subjected to police questioning is relevant to the Miranda custody analysis. J.D.B. was a 13-year-old, seventh-grade middle school student when he was removed from his classroom by a...

The exclusionary rule (a deterrent sanction baring the prosecution from introducing evidence obtained by way of a Fourth Amendment violation) does not apply when the police conduct a search in compliance with binding precedent that is later overruled. Alabama officers conducted a routine traffic...

In the context of a qualified immunity analysis, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit and held, in relevant part, that an objectively reasonable arrest and detention pursuant to a validly obtained material witness arrest warrant cannot be challenged as unconstitutional on the basis of...

Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. 452 (May. 16, 2011)

The Court reversed and remanded a decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court and held that the exigent circumstances rule applies when police, by knocking on the door of a residence and announcing their presence, cause the occupants to attempt to destroy evidence. Police officers set up a controlled...

Because a search of a government employee’s text messages sent and received on a government-issued pager was reasonable, there was no violation of Fourth Amendment rights.

The defendant was arrested in connection with a shooting that left one victim dead and another injured. At the start of their interrogation of the defendant, officers presented him with a written notification of his constitutional rights, which contained Miranda warnings. During the...

The defendant was arrested in connection with a shooting that left one victim dead and another injured. At the start of their interrogation of the defendant, officers presented him with a written notification of his constitutional rights, which contained Miranda warnings. During the...

Maryland v. Shatzer, 559 U.S. 98 (Feb. 24, 2010)

The Court held that a 2½ year break in custody ended the presumption of involuntariness established in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981) (when a defendant invokes the right to have counsel present during a custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established...

Florida v. Powell, 559 U.S. 50 (Feb. 23, 2010)

Advice by law enforcement officers that the defendant had “the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any of [the law enforcement officers’] questions” and that he could invoke this right “at any time . . . during th[e] interview,” satisfied Miranda’s requirement that the defendant...

An officer’s entry into a home without a warrant was reasonable under the emergency aid doctrine. Responding to a report of a disturbance, a couple directed officers to a house where a man was "going crazy." A pickup in the driveway had a smashed front, there were damaged fence posts along the...

Safford Unified School District v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364 (June 25, 2009)

Although school officials had reasonable suspicion to search a middle school student’s backpack and outer clothing for pills, they violated the Fourth Amendment when they required her to pull out her bra and underwear. After learning that the student might have prescription strength and over-the...

Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778 (May. 26, 2009)

The defendant was arrested for murder, waived his Miranda rights, and gave statements in response to officers’ interrogation. He was brought before a judge for a preliminary hearing, who ordered that the defendant be held without bond and appointed counsel to represent him. Later that...

Kansas v. Ventris, 556 U.S. 586 (Apr. 29, 2009)

The defendant’s incriminating statement to a jailhouse informant, obtained in violation of the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel, was admissible on rebuttal to impeach the defendant’s trial testimony that conflicted with statement. The statement would not have been admissible during...

Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332 (Apr. 21, 2009)

Holding that officers may search a vehicle incident to arrest only if (1) the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment when the search is conducted; or (2) it is reasonable to believe that evidence relevant to the crime of arrest might be found in the...

Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323 (Jan. 26, 2009)

Summarizing existing law, the Court noted that a “stop and frisk” is constitutionally permissible if: (1) the stop is lawful; and (2) the officer reasonably suspects that the person stopped is armed and dangerous. It noted that that in an on-the-street encounter, the first requirement—a lawful...

Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323 (Jan. 26, 2009)

Summarizing existing law, the Court noted that a “stop and frisk” is constitutionally permissible if: (1) the stop is lawful; and (2) the officer reasonably suspects that the person stopped is armed and dangerous. It noted that that in an on-the-street encounter, the first requirement—a lawful...

The exclusionary rule does not require the exclusion of evidence found during a search incident to arrest when the officer reasonably believed that there was an outstanding warrant but that belief was wrong because of a negligent bookkeeping error by another police employee. An officer arrested...

State v. White, 836 F.3d 437 (Sept. 9, 2016)

A local West Virginia law enforcement officer stopped a car that had veered out of its lane. In addition to the driver, there was a front seat passenger, the defendant, and one back seat passenger, Bone. When approaching the driver’s window, he smelled an odor of burned marijuana...

An officer on patrol ran the license plate of the car the defendant was driving and discovered that the license plate was registered to another car. The officer initiated a traffic stop. As the officer approached the driver’s side of the car, he noticed that the defendant had raised his...

In this Stanly County case, no reasonable suspicion existed when a trooper, already conducting a traffic stop, observed the defendant gesturing with his middle finger from the passenger side of a car driving past the stop. The Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the State’s argument that the...

This Carteret County drug case involved a challenge to a search warrant for the defendant’s home. A detective observed what he believed to be a drug transaction occur in a parking lot between a Jeep and another car. He knew the occupants of the Jeep and their address. The detective also knew...

The court per curiam affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 828 S.E.2.d 195 (2019), which had held over a dissent that no reasonable suspicion supported a warrantless traffic stop based on an anonymous tip. 

A sheriff’s deputy received a dispatch call,...

In this drug trafficking case arising out of a traffic stop, the court affirmed the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that the law enforcement officer who arrested the defendant violated the Fourth amendment by prolonging the stop without the defendant’s consent or a reasonable articulable...

Two men were angry about being cheated in a drug deal. They approached a house and shot two other men – one fatally – who they thought were involved in the rip-off. The victims were on the front porch at the time of the shooting. Two women who were also on the porch viewed photo lineups in an...

On appeal from a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, State v. Parisi, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 228 (2018) (discussed in an earlier blog post by Shea Denning, https://nccriminallaw.sog.unc.edu/got-...

On discretionary review of a consolidated appeal from two decisions of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 816 S.E.2d 212 (2018), and ___ N.C. App. ___, 812 S.E.2d 730 (2018) (unpublished), the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decisions of the Court of Appeals. A...

The court per curiam affirmed a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 814 S.E.2d 618 (2018), holding that because an officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant for impaired driving, the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress....

On appeal from the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 809 S.E.2d 340 (2018), the court per curiam vacated and remanded to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of State v. Wilson, ___ N.C. ___, 821 S.E.2d 811 (2018). In the decision below...

State v. Johnson, 371 N.C. 870 (Dec. 21, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 795 S.E.2d 625 (2017), in this first-degree murder case the court held that the defendant’s statements to officers were voluntary. The defendant voluntarily met with detectives at the police station in...

State v. Wilson, 371 N.C. 920 (Dec. 21, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous, unpublished decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 698 (2017), in this felon in possession of a firearm case, the court held that Michigan v. Summers justifies a seizure of the defendant where he posed a real threat to the safe and...

State v. Frederick, 371 N.C. 547 (Oct. 26, 2018)

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 814 S.E.2d 855 (2018), the court per curiam affirmed. The Court of Appeals had held, over a dissent, that the search warrant of the defendant’s residence was supported by probable cause. The warrant was...

State v. Smith, 371 N.C. 469 (Sept. 21, 2018)

In a per curiam opinion in this felon in possession of a firearm case, the court reversed the Court of Appeals for reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, thus holding that the shotgun could be seized as conrtaband in plain view.

In the opinion below, ___ N.C. App. ___, 804 S.E.2d...

State v. Saldierna, 371 N.C. 407 (Aug. 17, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 33 (2017), the court reversed, holding that the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress contained sufficient findings of fact to support its conclusion that the defendant...

On appeal from the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 805 S.E.2d 348 (2017), the court reversed, holding that an officer’s decision to briefly detain the defendant for questioning was supported by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. While on patrol at...

State v. Downey, 370 N.C. 507 (Mar. 2, 2018)

The court per curiam affirmed a divided decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 796 S.E.2d 517 (2017), affirming an order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. Over a dissent, the court of appeals had held that reasonable suspicion supported extension of the traffic stop....

State v. Jackson, 370 N.C. 337 (Dec. 8, 2017)

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 791 S.E.2d 505 (2016), the court affirmed in a per curiam opinion. Over a dissent, the Court of Appeals had held that the search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause. At issue was the...

State v. Bullock, 370 N.C. 256 (Nov. 3, 2017)

On an appeal from a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 785 S.E.2d 746 (2016), the court reversed, concluding that the stop at issue was not unduly prolonged. An officer puller over the defendant for several traffic violations. During the traffic stop that ensued, officers...

State v. Reed, 370 N.C. 267 (Nov. 3, 2017)

On appeal from a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 791 S.E.2d 486 (2016), the court vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of its decision in State v. Bullock, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (2017), holding that a stop was not unduly prolonged.

State v. Goins, 370 N.C. 157 (Sept. 29, 2017)

For the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals in State v. Goins___ N.C. App. ___, 789 S.E.2d 466 (July 5, 2016). In that case, the Court...

State v. Hammonds, 370 N.C. 158 (Sept. 29, 2017)

Because the defendant was in custody while confined under a civil commitment order, the failure of the police to advise him of his Miranda rights rendered inadmissible his incriminating statements made during the interrogation. On December 10, 2012, a Stephanie Gaddy was robbed. On...

State v. Johnson, 370 N.C. 32 (Aug. 18, 2017)

The Supreme Court reversed the decision below, State v. James Johnson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 784 S.E.2d 633 (April 5, 2016), which had held that because a police officer lacked reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop...

State v. Romano, 369 N.C. 678 (June 9, 2017)

The court held, in this DWI case, that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Birchfield v. North Dakota (search incident to arrest doctrine does not justify the warrantless taking of a blood sample; as to the argument that the blood tests at issue were justified based on the...

State v. Knight, 369 N.C. 640 (June 9, 2017)

Applying Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370 (2010),the court held that the defendant understood his Miranda rights and through a course of conduct indicating waiver, provided a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights. During the interrogation, the defendant never said...

State v. Romano, 369 N.C. 678 (June 9, 2017)

The court held, in this DWI case, that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Birchfield v. North Dakota (search incident to arrest doctrine does not justify the warrantless taking of a blood sample; as to the argument that the blood tests at issue were justified based on the...

State v. Knight, 369 N.C. 640 (June 9, 2017)

Applying Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370 (2010),the court held that the defendant understood his Miranda rights and through a course of conduct indicating waiver, provided a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights. During the interrogation, the defendant never said...

State v. Lowe, 369 N.C. 360 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that a search of a vehicle located on the premises was within the scope of the warrant. The vehicle in question was parked in the curtilage of the residence and was a rental car of the defendant, an overnight guest at the house. If a search warrant...

State v. Allman, 369 N.C. 292 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that because the magistrate had a substantial basis to find that probable cause existed to issue the search warrant, the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. The affidavit stated that an officer stopped a car driven by...

State v. Lowe, 369 N.C. 360 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Affirming the Court of Appeals, the court held that a search warrant authorizing a search of the premises where the defendant was arrested was supported by probable cause. The affidavit stated that officers received an anonymous tip that Michael Turner was selling, using and storing narcotics at...

State v. Allman, 369 N.C. 292 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that because the magistrate had a substantial basis to find that probable cause existed to issue the search warrant, the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. The affidavit stated that an officer stopped a car driven by...

State v. Lowe, 369 N.C. 360 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Affirming the Court of Appeals, the court held that a search warrant authorizing a search of the premises where the defendant was arrested was supported by probable cause. The affidavit stated that officers received an anonymous tip that Michael Turner was selling, using and storing narcotics at...

State v. Saldierna, 369 N.C. 401 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that the juvenile defendant’s request to telephone his mother while undergoing custodial questioning by police investigators was not a clear indication of his right to consult with a parent or guardian before proceeding with the questioning. The...

State v. Lowe, 369 N.C. 360 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the court held that a search of a vehicle located on the premises was within the scope of the warrant. The vehicle in question was parked in the curtilage of the residence and was a rental car of the defendant, an overnight guest at the house. If a search warrant...

State v. Warren, 368 N.C. 756 (Mar. 18, 2016)

On appeal pursuant from the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 775 S.E.2d 362 (2015), the court per curiam affirmed. In this post-Rodriguez case, the court of appeals had held that the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the scope and duration...

State v. Warren, 368 N.C. 756 (Mar. 18, 2016)

On appeal pursuant from the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 775 S.E.2d 362 (2015), the court per curiam affirmed. In this post-Rodriguez case, the court of appeals had held that the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend the scope and duration...

State v. Leak, 368 N.C. 570 (Dec. 18, 2015)

The supreme court vacated the decision below, State v. Leak, ___ N.C. App. ___, 773 S.E.2d 340 (2015), and ordered that the court of appeals remand to the trial court for reconsideration of the defendant’s...

State v. Leak, 368 N.C. 570 (Dec. 18, 2015)

The supreme court vacated the decision below, State v. Leak, ___ N.C. App. ___, 773 S.E.2d 340 (2015), and ordered that the court of appeals remand to the trial court for reconsideration of the defendant’s...

State v. McCrary, 368 N.C. 571 (Dec. 18, 2015)

In a per curiam opinion, the supreme court affirmed the decision below, State v. McCrary, 237 N.C. App. 48 (2014), to the extent it affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss. In...

State v. Perry, 243 N.C. App 156 (Sept. 15, 2015)

In this drug case, no fourth amendment violation occurred when law enforcement officers obtained the defendant’s cell cite location information (CSLI) from his service provider, AT&T, without a warrant based on probable cause. The court noted that while courts have held that “real time” CSLI...

State v. McKinney, 368 N.C. 161 (Aug. 21, 2015)

Reversing the court of appeals in this drug case, the court held that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that probable cause existed to justify issuance of a search warrant authorizing a search of defendant’s apartment. The application was based on the...

State v. McKinney, 368 N.C. 161 (Aug. 21, 2015)

Reversing the court of appeals in this drug case, the court held that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that probable cause existed to justify issuance of a search warrant authorizing a search of defendant’s apartment. The application was based on the...

State v. Elder, 368 N.C. 70 (June 11, 2015)

Modifying and affirming the decision below, State v. Elder, 232 N.C. App. 80 (2014), the supreme court held that the district court exceeded its statutory authority under G.S. 50B-3...

State v. Jackson, 368 N.C. 75 (June 11, 2015)

Reversing the decision below, State v. Jackson, 234 N.C. App. 80 (2014), the court held that an officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop. The stop occurred at approximately 9:00 pm in the vicinity of...

State v. Jackson, 368 N.C. 75 (June 11, 2015)

Reversing the decision below, State v. Jackson, 234 N.C. App. 80 (2014), the court held that an officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop. The stop occurred at approximately 9:00 pm in the vicinity of...

State v. Jackson, 368 N.C. 75 (June 11, 2015)

Reversing the decision below, State v. Jackson, 234 N.C. App. 80 (2014), the court held that an officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop. The stop occurred at approximately 9:00 pm in the vicinity of...

State v. Grice, 367 N.C. 753 (Jan. 23, 2015)

(1) Reversing the court of appeals, the court held that officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment by seizing marijuana plants seen in plain view. After receiving a tip that the defendant was growing marijuana at a specified residence, officers went to the residence to conduct a knock and...

State v. Grice, 367 N.C. 753 (Jan. 23, 2015)

(1) Reversing the court of appeals, the court held that officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment by seizing marijuana plants seen in plain view. After receiving a tip that the defendant was growing marijuana at a specified residence, officers went to the residence to conduct a knock and...

State v. Miller, 367 N.C. 702 (Dec. 19, 2014)

The court held that a police dog’s instinctive action, unguided and undirected by the police, that brings evidence not otherwise in plain view into plain view is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Responding to a burglar alarm, officers arrived at the defendant’s home with...

State v. Benters, 367 N.C. 660 (Dec. 19, 2014)

The court held that an affidavit supporting a search warrant failed to provide a substantial basis for the magistrate to conclude that probable cause existed. In the affidavit, the affiant officer stated that another officer conveyed to him a tip from a confidential informant that the suspect...

State v. Verkerk, 367 N.C. 483 (June 12, 2014)

Reversing the court of appeals in a DWI case where the defendant was initially stopped by a firefighter, the court determined that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress which challenged the firefighter’s authority to make the initial stop. After observing the...

State v. Heien, 367 N.C. 163 (Nov. 8, 2013) aff'd on other grounds, 574 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 530 (Dec 15 2014)

The court per curiam affirmed the decision below, State v. Heien, 226 N.C. App. 280 (2013). Over a dissent the court of appeals had held that a valid traffic stop was not unduly prolonged and as a result the defendant’s consent to search his vehicle was valid. The stop was initiated at...

State v. Heien, 367 N.C. 163 (Nov. 8, 2013) aff'd on other grounds, 574 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 530 (Dec 15 2014)

The court per curiam affirmed the decision below, State v. Heien, 226 N.C. App. 280 (2013). Over a dissent the court of appeals had held that a valid traffic stop was not unduly prolonged and as a result the defendant’s consent to search his vehicle was valid. The stop was initiated at...

State v. Kochuk, 366 N.C. 549 (June 13, 2013)

The court, per curiam and without an opinion, reversed the decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, State v. Kochuk, 223 N.C. App. 301 (2012), for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion. An officer was on duty and traveling eastbound on Interstate 40, where there were three travel...

State v. Griffin, 366 N.C. 473 (Apr. 12, 2013)

The defendant’s act of stopping his vehicle in the middle of the roadway and turning away from a license checkpoint gave rise to reasonable suspicion for a vehicle stop. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, finding the stop constitutional. In an unpublished opinion, the...

In re T.A.S., 366 N.C. 269 (Oct. 5, 2012)

The court vacated and remanded In re T.A.S., 213 N.C. App. 273 (July 19, 2011) (holding that a search of a juvenile student’s bra was constitutionally unreasonable), ordering further findings of fact. The court ordered the trial court to

make additional findings of...

State v. Otto, 366 N.C. 134 (June 14, 2012)

Reversing State v. Otto, 217 N.C. App. 79 (Nov. 15, 2011), the court held that there was reasonable suspicion for the stop. Around 11 pm, an officer observed a vehicle drive past. The officer turned behind the vehicle and immediately noticed that it was weaving within its own lane. The...

State v. Salinas, 366 N.C. 119 (June 14, 2012)

The court modified and affirmed State v. Salinas, 214 N.C. App. 408 (Aug. 16, 2011) (trial court incorrectly applied a probable cause standard instead of a reasonable suspicion standard when determining whether a vehicle stop was unconstitutional). The supreme court agreed that the...

State v. Williams, 366 N.C. 110 (June 14, 2012)

The court affirmed State v. Williams, 215 N.C. App. 1 (Aug. 16, 2011) (reasonable articulable suspicion justified extending the traffic stop). The officer stopped the vehicle in which the defendant was a passenger for having illegally tinted windows and issued a citation. The officer...

State v. Mbacke, 365 N.C. 403 (Jan. 27, 2012)

The court reversed the court of appeals and determined that a search of the defendant’s vehicle incident to his arrest for carrying a concealed gun did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The defendant was indicted for, among other things, trafficking in cocaine and carrying a concealed gun....

State v. Burke, 365 N.C. 415 (Jan. 27, 2012)

In a per curiam opinion, the court affirmed the decision below in State v. Burke, 212 N.C. App. 654 (June 21, 2011) (over a dissent, the court held that the trial judge erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress when no reasonable suspicion supported a stop of the defendant’s...

State v. Yencer, 365 N.C. 292 (Nov. 10, 2011)

The supreme court held that the Campus Police Act, as applied to the defendant, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The facts underlying the case involved a Davidson College Police Department officer’s arrest of the defendant for impaired...

State v. Biber, 365 N.C. 162 (June 16, 2011)

The court reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals and held that probable cause supported the defendant’s arrest for drug possession. In the decision below, the Court of Appeals held that there was insufficient evidence that the defendant had constructive possession of the substance at issue...

State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (Nov. 5, 2010)

A capital defendant was not in custody when he admitted that he stabbed the victim. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the defendant is an adult with prior criminal justice system experience; the officer who first approached the defendant told him that he was being detained until...

State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (Nov. 5, 2010)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that by telling officers that he did not want to snitch on anyone and declining to reveal the name of his accomplice, the defendant invoked his right to remain silent requiring that all interrogation cease.

The court affirmed per curiam Steinkrause v. Tatum, 201 N.C. App. 289 (Dec. 8, 2009) (holding, over a dissent, that there was probable cause to arrest the defendant for impaired driving in light of the severity of the one-car accident coupled with an odor of alcohol).

State v. Mello, 364 N.C. 421 (Oct. 8, 2010)

The court affirmed per curiam State v. Mello, 200 N.C. App. 437 (Nov. 3, 2009) (holding, over a dissent, that reasonable suspicion supported a vehicle stop; while in a drug-ridden area, an officer observed two individuals approach and insert their hands into the defendant’s car; after...

State v. Morton, 363 N.C. 737 (Dec. 11, 2009)

For reasons stated in a dissent to the opinion below, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals ruling that the trial judge erred by concluding that a frisk was justified because officers had reasonable suspicion to believe that the defendant was armed or dangerous. The...

State v. Wilkerson, 363 N.C. 382 (Aug. 28, 2009)

Seizure and search of the defendant’s cell phone was proper as a search incident to arrest. The defendant was arrested for two murders shortly after they were committed. While in custody, he received a cell phone call, at which point the seizure occurred. [Note: The more recent Riley...

State v. Wilkerson, 363 N.C. 382 (Aug. 28, 2009)

Seizure and search of the defendant’s cell phone was proper as a search incident to arrest. The defendant was arrested for two murders shortly after they were committed. While in custody, he received a cell phone call, at which point the seizure occurred. [Note: The more recent Riley...

State v. Icard, 363 N.C. 303 (June 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,...

State v. Maready, 362 N.C. 614 (Dec. 12, 2008)

Reasonable suspicion supported the officer’s stop of a vehicle in a case in which the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges involving a vehicle crash and impaired driving. Officers saw an intoxicated man stumble across the road and enter a Honda. They then were...

The defendant was indicted for trafficking opium and possession of a firearm by a felon, and he filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of his residence on the grounds that the officers executing the search turned off their body cameras after conducting the initial...

In this felony possession of cocaine case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence that was discovered pursuant to a consent search where the request for consent and the search measurably extended a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion in violation of...

In this case involving drug offenses, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence arising from a traffic stop because the duration of the stop was not impermissibly prolonged under Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. 348 (2015).  Two officers with...

In this Cleveland County case, police were dispatched to a commercial business around 3 a.m. in response to a noise complaint. Upon arrival, they noticed a strong odor of burning marijuana and loud noises from a party within the building. The property owner-defendant approached police on...

In this Cabarrus County case, the defendant was convicted of two counts of felony possession of Schedule I controlled substance and having attained habitual felon status. The charges arose from substances recovered from the vehicle defendant was driving when he was stopped for failing to wear...

An East Carolina University police officer was responding to a traffic accident call at 2:50 a.m. in Pitt County. He noticed a vehicle on the road and followed it, suspecting it had been involved in the accident. The officer testified that the vehicle did not have its rear lights on. There were...

In this case from Burke County, an officer observed the defendant driving ten miles over the speed limit and believed that the vehicle’s window tint was illegal. When the officer approached, he smelled a slight odor of marijuana and a strong odor of cologne. He also observed that the car windows...

In this DWI case, the court held that a traffic checkpoint had a valid programmatic purpose and that G.S. 20-16.3A is constitutional.  Troopers testified that the primary purpose of the checkpoint, which was conducted with prior approval from a supervisor, with an established plan, and...

In this Guilford County case, the defendant was on post-release supervision (PRS) for a previous felony. The Department of Public Safety deemed him to be a “high-risk offender” and a “validated gang member,” and thus included him in a May 2017 search operation conducted jointly with other...

The defendant was charged with driving while impaired after being stopped at a checkpoint on Highway 27 in Harnett County.  She moved to suppress the evidence on the basis that the checkpoint violated her Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant pled...

The defendant in this drug case moved to suppress evidence discovered on his person by a law enforcement officer who was part of a team of officers executing a search warrant at the defendant’s residence.  At the time of the execution of the warrant, the defendant, who the day before had...

The trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress because the officers did not lawfully have a right of access to the contraband seized. The Court of Appeals considered the following factors to distinguish a knock and talk from a search: “how law enforcement approach[ed] the...

A Jones County deputy applied for a search warrant of defendant’s residence. In his affidavit in support, the deputy represented that he had observed drug transactions at the defendant’s residence. In fact, all the drug transactions had taken place away from the defendant’s home. The defendant...

The defendant was indicted for attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and other offenses. The State alleged that the defendant shot a man and his wife, Bruce and Joanne Parker, as they were getting into their...

A police officer stopped the defendant for suspected texting while driving. When the officer returned to his vehicle to check on the defendant’s identity, the defendant fled. (1) Before his trial on charges of texting while driving and felony fleeing to elude, the defendant moved to...

The defendant was charged with impaired driving after being involved in a single car accident in a Biscuitville parking lot. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained by the arresting officer, who was actually the second officer to arrive on the scene...

The defendant was stopped by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer for a broken taillight and a passenger seatbelt violation. A second officer arrived shortly after the stop. The stopping officer saw an approximately five-inch closed pocketknife in the center console between the driver and...

The defendant was accused of killing his aunt in Lenoir County. Following his arrest, the defendant initially requested an attorney and was not interrogated, but later contacted detectives and signed a Miranda waiver. The defendant offered to make a full statement if he could see his...

The defendant in this case pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery, while preserving his right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress historical cell site location information (“CSLI”) that the state obtained without a search warrant. Evidence at the suppression hearing...

The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was sentenced to life without parole for the murder conviction and to shorter terms for the other convictions. The...

Two men attempted to rob the victim in a McDonald’s parking lot. One of the suspects fired a gun, and both suspects fled. The victim ran to a nearby parking lot, where he found a law enforcement officer. The victim told the officer what had occurred and described the suspects. Two suspects...

While parked on the side of the road, a trooper saw a truck pass by and believed that the passenger was not wearing a seat belt. After the trooper stopped the truck and approached the passenger side, he realized that passenger was wearing his seat belt, but the gray belt had not been...

The defendant was found guilty by a Cleveland County jury of impaired driving and resisting a public officer and was found responsible for possession of open container. He appealed, challenging the denial of his motion to dismiss, the denial of his mid-trial motion to suppress, an evidentiary...

A police offer stopped at a gas station for a cup of coffee, and on his way inside he noticed the defendant standing outside the gas station, talking loudly and using abusive language on his cell phone. The clerk inside told the officer she thought the defendant was bothering other customers....

The defendant was charged with impaired driving, was convicted in district court, appealed to superior court, and prevailed on a motion to suppress at a pretrial hearing in superior court. The State appealed. (1) The Court of Appeals rejected the State’s argument that the superior court judge...

An officer patrolling the parking area of a park just before closing discovered the defendant asleep in her car. Based on the defendant’s positioning, he was concerned there might be a medical emergency, so he knocked on the window of her car. After he knocked several times, the defendant sat up...

The defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and other charges and appealed. He argued the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress, his motion to dismiss, and in admitting certain evidence. The Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed.

The offenses occurred in...

The defendant was on probation for a conviction of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and he was classified by his probation officer as “extreme high risk” for supervision purposes. Officers from several law enforcement agencies, working in conjunction with probation officers,...

An anonymous person contacted law enforcement to report that a small green vehicle with license plate RCW-042 was in a specific area, had run several vehicles off the road, had struck a vehicle, and was attempting to leave the scene. Deputies went to the area and immediately stopped a vehicle...

Officers obtained a search warrant to search the defendant’s house. They executed the warrant, found drugs, and charged the defendant with drug offenses. The defendant moved to suppress, arguing that the warrant contained material misrepresentations and did not provide probable cause to support...

A confidential informant who had provided reliable information in the past told officers that the defendant was selling drugs from his home. The officers had the informant conduct a controlled buy, then obtained a search warrant for the residence. They executed the warrant, found drugs, and...

The defendant was speaking at an anti-abortion event outside an abortion clinic in Charlotte. He was using an amplified microphone and was sitting at the table where the amplification controls were located. Officers measured his amplified voice at more than 80 decibels and approached him to cite...

The defendant was charged with driving while license revoked, not an impaired revocation; assault on a female; possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony; attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon; and habitual felon status. The State proceeded to trial on the charges...

The defendant was charged with possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony and resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer. The State dismissed the resisting charge before trial, and the defendant filed a motion to suppress the firearm. The trial judge denied the...

The defendant was cleaning his car in the street adjacent to his girlfriend’s apartment when several law enforcement officers arrived to execute a search warrant for the apartment. Before entering the apartment, a law enforcement officer approached the defendant and asked for his driver’s...

In this murder and attempted murder case, an officer responded to the shooting at the victim’s apartment. Upon arrival, he saw a man running with a towel in his hands and gave chase. The officer could not catch the man and instead found one of the victims, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend. She was...

In this driving while impaired case, the officer observed the defendant sitting on a porch and drinking a tall beer at approximately 9:00pm. The defendant was known to the officer as someone he had previously stopped for driving while license revoked and an open container offense. Around 11:00pm...

After discovering stolen property at a home across the street, officers approached the front door of the defendant’s residence after being informed by a witness that the person who stole the property was at the residence. No one answered the knock, and officers observed a large spiderweb in the...

After discovering stolen property at a home across the street, officers approached the front door of the defendant’s residence after being informed by a witness that the person who stole the property was at the residence. No one answered the knock, and officers observed a large spiderweb in the...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress which asserted that the search warrant in question was issued based on an affidavit containing false and misleading information. The court concluded that although not all of the statements in the affidavit are “entirely...

In this drug case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained in a traffic stop. Sometime after 8:40 PM, an officer received a dispatch relating an anonymous report concerning a “suspicious white male,” with a “gold or silver vehicle” in the parking lot...

Considering the circumstances under which Miranda warnings are required when a member of the Armed Forces is questioned by a superior officer about involvement in the commission of a crime, the court concluded that the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress statements to...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress, which argued that officers improperly extended a traffic stop. Officers initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle for a passenger seatbelt violation. The defendant was in the passenger seat. That seat was leaned very far...

In this possession of a firearm by a felon case, the trial court did not err by allowing evidence of a handgun a police officer removed from the defendant’s waistband during a lawful frisk that occurred after a lawful stop. Police received an anonymous 911 call stating that an African-American...

In this carrying a concealed handgun case, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where the officer had reasonable suspicion to seize the defendant. While patrolling a high crime area, the officer saw the defendant and Ariel Peterson walking on a sidewalk. Aware of...

In this case involving armed robbery and other convictions, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence which asserted that the pre-trial identification was impermissibly suggestive. Three victims were robbed in a mall parking lot by three assailants. The...

In this drug case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. After receiving a tip that the defendant was growing marijuana at his home, officers drove there for a knock and talk. They pulled into the driveway and parked in front of the defendant’s car, which was...

In this drug case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence regarding in-court identifications on grounds that they were unreliable, tainted by an impermissibly suggestive DMV photograph. Detective Jurney conducted an undercover narcotics purchase from a...

In this DWI case, an officer did not unduly prolong a traffic stop. While on patrol, officers ran a vehicle’s tag and learned that the registered owner was a male with a suspended license. An officer stopped the vehicle based on the suspicion that it was being driven without a valid license. The...

In this DWI case, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered after a roadside breath test. Specifically, the defendant asserted that the results of roadside sobriety tests and intoxilyzer test should be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree of an...

In this case involving drug charges and a charge of driving without an operator’s license, the court declined to address the defendant’s argument that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to prolong the traffic stop and search the defendant, finding that the search was justified as a search...

Because officers had permission from an occupant to enter a home where incriminating evidence was discovered, the subsequent search of the home was valid. Officers responded to a report of domestic violence at a home the defendant shared with his girlfriend Kristy Fink. A 911 call had reported...

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress a victim’s identification of the defendant as the perpetrator. The defendant was charged with armed robbery of a Game Stop store and threatening use of a firearm against a store employee, Cintron, during the robbery. Although...

In this case in which the defendant was convicted of drug trafficking and related charges, the court held that although the trial court erred by finding that a vehicle was within the curtilage of the defendant’s residence, it properly found that officers had probable cause to search the vehicle...

In a case in which the court determined that the defendant received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, the court considered whether there was reasonable suspicion for the vehicle stop and found there was none. Having found that appellate counsel’s performance was deficient, the court...

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress heroin discovered following a search of the defendant during a traffic stop. A tactical narcotics officer noticed a Lincoln sedan weaving in and out of heavy traffic at high speeds, nearly causing multiple collisions. The vehicle...

In a case in which the court determined that the defendant received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, it considered whether the officers’ mistake of fact regarding a basis for a traffic stop was reasonable and concluded that it was not. Having found that appellate counsel’s...

In this drug trafficking case, a warrant to search the defendant’s person and vehicle was supported by probable cause. After a three-month investigation prompted by a confidential informant’s tip that the defendant was dealing heroin, Detective Cole obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s...

Officers did not unreasonably seize the defendant in connection with execution of the search warrant. The defendant asserted that his seizure was unreasonable because it occurred two miles away from the residence in question. The court noted in part that the warrant authorized a search of both...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the search of the premises was unreasonable. The defendant argued that because the officers deliberately waited until he vacated the premises before breaking open the door without knocking and announcing their presence, they violated the statutory...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress incriminating statements made to police during a custodial interview. The defendant asserted that the statements were made after he invoked his right to counsel. Before the custodial interview, the defendant was advised of...

(1) In this drug trafficking case, the court held that the fact that the defendant’s truck crossed over a double yellow line justified the stop. The officer saw the defendant’s vehicle cross the center line of the road by about 1 inch. The court stated:

[T]here is a “bright line”...

Probable cause supported the defendant’s second arrest for impaired driving. After the defendant’s first arrest for DWI, he signed a written promise to appear and was released. Thirty minutes later Officer Hall saw the defendant in the driver’s seat of his vehicle at a gas station, with the...

In this felony counterfeit trademark goods case, the court held that a search warrant was supported by probable cause. A Special Agent obtained a search warrant to search the residence and vehicles at 13606 Coram Place in Charlotte, North Carolina. The affidavit indicated that the Agent had 26...

In this possession of a firearm by a felon case, the court held that the affidavit contained insufficient details to support issuance of the search warrant. When officers went to the defendant’s home to conduct a knock and talk, the defendant’s brother answered the door and invited them in. An...

In this drug case, the court held that the affidavit provided sufficient probable cause for a search of the residence in question. The affidavit indicated that after the officer received an anonymous tip that drugs were being sold at the residence, he conducted a “refuse investigation” at the...

The traffic stop at issue was not unduly extended. The defendant, a passenger in the stopped vehicle, argued that officers extended, without reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop after issuing the driver a warning citation. The stopping officer had extensive training in drug interdiction,...

State v. Turnage, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 1 (May. 15, 2018) temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 814 S.E.2d 459 (Jun 20 2018)

In this fleeing to elude, resisting an officer and child abuse case, the trial court erred by concluding that a seizure occurred when a detective activated his blue lights. After receiving complaints about drug activity at 155 John David Grady Road, officers conducted surveillance of the area....

The knock and talk conducted by officers in this drug case violated the fourth amendment. After a confidential informant notified officers that he had purchased heroin from a person at an apartment located at 1013 Simmons Street, officers conducted three controlled drug buys at the apartment. On...

(1) In this case involving a gang-related home invasion and murder, the court remanded to the trial court on the issue of whether the defendant’s waiver of his right to counsel was voluntary. Officers interrogated the 15-year-old defendant four times over an eight hour period. Although he...

In this impaired driving case, an officer’s observation of a single instance of a vehicle crossing the double yellow centerline in violation of state motor vehicle law provided reasonable suspicion to support the traffic stop. While traveling southbound on Highway 32, NC Highway Patrol Trooper...

(1) On an appeal from an adverse ruling on the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) in this murder case, the court held that because the defendant’s attorney made an objectively reasonable determination that the defendant’s uncle would qualify as his “guardian” under G.S. 7B-2101(b)...

An officer had reasonable suspicion to prolong the traffic stop. A six-year officer who had received training in identification of drugs and had participated in 100 drug arrests pulled into the parking lot of a Motel 6, a high crime area. When he entered the lot, he saw two men sitting in a car...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his consent to search his rental vehicle was involuntary because it was given at a time when the stop had been unduly prolonged. Specifically, the defendant argued that the stop was prolonged because of questioning by the officer and the time he...

An officer’s search of the defendant’s rental car did not exceed the scope of the defendant’s consent. During a traffic stop, the defendant consented to a search of the vehicle but not to a search of his personal belongings in it, a bag and two hoodies. After searching the defendant’s vehicle,...

The defendant did not revoke consent to search his vehicle. Although the defendant asked the officer what would happen if he revoked his consent, the defendant never revoked consent to search the vehicle, even after the officer explained that he needed to wait for a second officer to arrive to...

The trial court properly issued an order authorizing a pen register for the defendant’s phone. The order was issued pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (SCA). The SCA requires only reasonable suspicion for issuance of an order for disclosure. The order in question was based on information...

(1) In this drug case, a search of the defendant’s person was a proper search incident to arrest. An officer stopped the defendant’s vehicle for driving with a revoked license. The officer had recognized the defendant and knew that his license was suspended. The officer arrested the defendant...

When, under G.S. 122C-303, an officer takes a publicly intoxicated person to jail to assist that person and the action is taken against the person’s will, an arrest occurs. 

In an assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious bodily injury case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of his attack on the officer, alleged by the defendant to be proper resistance to an unlawful arrest. The court concluded: “Even if...

Because the trial court’s findings of fact do not support its conclusion that the defendant was legally seized at the time consented to a search of his person, the court reversed the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress contraband found on his person. Officers were...

In this attempted murder and robbery case, a search warrant was supported by probable cause. On appeal, the defendant argued that the warrant lacked probable cause because a statement by a confidential informant provided the only basis to believe the evidence might be found at the premises in...

In this murder case, officers had probable cause to arrest the defendant. Thus, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress incriminating statements made by the defendant after arrest. After law enforcement discovered a woman’s body inside an abandoned, burned car,...

In this armed robbery and murder case, the trial court did not err by concluding that law enforcement officers had probable cause to arrest the defendant. Among other things, the defendant placed a telephone call using the victim’s cell phone about 20 minutes before the victim’s death was...

No reasonable suspicion supported a stop. At approximately 5 pm dispatch notified a trooper on routine patrol that an informant-driver reported that another driver was driving while intoxicated. The informant reported that the driver was driving from the Hubert area towards Jacksonville,...

Reasonable suspicion supported the traffic stop. At the time of the stop it was very late at night; the defendant’s vehicle was idling in front of a closed business; the business and surrounding properties had experienced several break-ins; and the defendant pulled away when the officer...

Reasonable suspicion supported the traffic stop. At the time of the stop it was very late at night; the defendant’s vehicle was idling in front of a closed business; the business and surrounding properties had experienced several break-ins; and the defendant pulled away when the officer...

Reasonable suspicion supported the traffic stop. At the time of the stop it was very late at night; the defendant’s vehicle was idling in front of a closed business; the business and surrounding properties had experienced several break-ins; and the defendant pulled away when the officer...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress statements made to an officer while the officer was transporting the defendant to the law enforcement center. It was undisputed that the defendant made the inculpatory statements while in custody and before he had been...

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized during the executions of warrants to search his rental cabin and truck for stolen goods connected to a breaking and entering of a horse trailer. The defendant argued that the search warrant affidavit establish no...

The court held, over a dissent, that even if the initial stop was not supported by reasonable suspicion, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where the evidence sought to be suppressed--a stolen handgun--was obtained after the defendant committed a separate crime:...

Because the State failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that a warrantless search was authorized by G.S. 15A-1343(b)(13), the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The defendant was subjected to the regular condition of probation under G.S. 15A-1343(b)(13). This...

In this impaired driving case the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where exigent circumstances supported a warrantless blood draw. The defendant tested at .10 on a roadside test, was arrested at 2:48 AM and then was transported to the police department, where he...

In this impaired driving case the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where exigent circumstances supported a warrantless blood draw. The defendant tested at .10 on a roadside test, was arrested at 2:48 AM and then was transported to the police department, where he...

In this impaired driving case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress self-incriminating statements made without Miranda warnings, finding that the defendant was not in custody at the time. The standard for determining...

Because an officer violated the defendant’s fourth amendment rights by searching the curtilage of his home without a warrant, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The officer saw a vehicle with its doors open at the back of a 150-yard driveway leading to the...

Because an officer violated the defendant’s fourth amendment rights by searching the curtilage of his home without a warrant, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The officer saw a vehicle with its doors open at the back of a 150-yard driveway leading to the...

Because an officer violated the defendant’s fourth amendment rights by searching the curtilage of his home without a warrant, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The officer saw a vehicle with its doors open at the back of a 150-yard driveway leading to the...

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that his confession was obtained in violation of Miranda. During an interview at the sheriff’s department, the defendant admitted that he had sex with the victim. The transcript and videotape of the interview...

In this drug case, a search warrant application relying principally upon information obtained from a confidential informant was sufficient to support a magistrate’s finding of probable cause and a subsequent search of the defendant’s home. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the...

Reasonable suspicion supported the stop. An officer patrolling a “known drug corridor” at 4 am observed the defendant’s car stopped in the lane of traffic. An unidentified pedestrian approached the defendant’s car and leaned in the window. The officer found these actions to be indicative of a...

Reasonable suspicion supported the stop. An officer patrolling a “known drug corridor” at 4 am observed the defendant’s car stopped in the lane of traffic. An unidentified pedestrian approached the defendant’s car and leaned in the window. The officer found these actions to be indicative of a...

The court rejected the defendant’s claim that counsel was ineffective by failing to object to the admission of cocaine found during an officer’s warrantless search of the defendant’s vehicle; the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State was required to prove that the defendant’s...

The court rejected the defendant’s claim that counsel was ineffective by failing to object to the admission of his statement to an officer that the cocaine in question belonged to him and not a passenger in the vehicle; the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the statements were...

After the defendant’s arrest for impaired driving, officers properly searched his vehicle as a search incident to arrest. Applying Arizona v. Gant, the court found that the officer had a reasonable basis to believe that evidence of impaired driving might be found in the vehicle. The...

In this drug case, an officer lawfully approached the front of the defendant’s home and obtained information that was later used to procure a search warrant. Specifically, he heard a generator and noticed condensation and mold, factors which in his experience and training were consistent with...

In this drug case, a search warrant was properly supported by probable cause. At issue was whether a confidential informant was sufficiently reliable to support a finding of probable cause. The affidavit noted that the confidential informant was familiar with the appearance of illegal narcotics...

The vehicle stop was supported by reasonable suspicion. An officer received an anonymous report that a drunk driver was operating a black, four-door Hyundai headed north on Highland Capital Boulevard. The officer located the vehicle as reported and observed that the defendant drove roughly 15...

Exigent circumstances justified the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s home to arrest him. It was undisputed that the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant for driving while license revoked. They pulled into the defendant’s driveway behind him and activated blue...

State v. Wilson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 793 S.E.2d 737 (Dec. 6, 2016) aff’d per curiam, 370 N.C. 389 (Dec 22 2017)

In this impaired driving case, the court held, over a dissent, that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress where no seizure occurred. An officer went to a residence to find a man who had outstanding warrants for his arrest. While walking towards the residence, the...

In this impaired driving case, the defendant was not seized within the meaning of the fourth amendment until he submitted to the officer’s authority by stopping his vehicle. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the seizure occurred when the officer activated his blue lights. Because...

In this impaired driving case, the defendant was not seized within the meaning of the fourth amendment until he submitted to the officer’s authority by stopping his vehicle. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the seizure occurred when the officer activated his blue lights. Because...

In this drug case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress drug evidence seized after a traffic stop where the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. Officers received a tip from a confidential informant regarding “suspicious” packages...

In this drug case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress drug evidence seized after a traffic stop where the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. Officers received a tip from a confidential informant regarding “suspicious” packages...

In this robbery case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress statements to a police officer during an interrogation outside of the presence of his parent. Notwithstanding an issue about how the Juvenile Waiver of Rights Form was...

(1) In this methamphetamine trafficking case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized during execution of a search warrant. Noting that a factual showing sufficient to support probable cause “requires a truthful showing of facts,” the court rejected...

(1) In this methamphetamine trafficking case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized during execution of a search warrant. Noting that a factual showing sufficient to support probable cause “requires a truthful showing of facts,” the court rejected...

An officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant for DWI. After the officer stopped the defendant’s vehicle, he smelled a moderate odor of alcohol coming from the defendant and noticed that the defendant’s eyes were red and glassy. Upon administration of an HGN test the officer observed...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress where a stop was based on an officer’s mistake of law that was not objectively reasonable. An officer stopped a vehicle registered in Tennessee for driving without an exterior mirror on the driver’s side of the vehicle. The...

In this sexual exploitation of a minor case, the information contained in an officer’s affidavit was sufficient to provide probable cause for issuance of a search warrant for child pornography. In this case, an officer and certified computer forensic examiner identified child pornography through...

In this drug case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence collected from his residence on the grounds that the inventory list prepared by the detective was unlawfully vague and inaccurate in describing the items seized....

In this impaired driving case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress, which had asserted that a checkpoint stop violated his constitutional rights. When considering a constitutional challenge to a checkpoint, a two-part inquiry applies: the court must first...

In this drug case, the court held, deciding an issue of first impression, that an odor of marijuana emanating from inside a vehicle stopped at a checkpoint did not provide an officer with probable cause to conduct an immediate warrantless search of the driver. The defendant was driving the...

In this drug case, the trial court properly denied a motion to suppress where no illegal seizure of the defendant occurred during a knock and talk and where exigent circumstances justified the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s home. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that...

In this drug case, the court held that the defendant’s consent to search his room in a rooming house was voluntarily given. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he was in custody at the time consent was given. There was no evidence that the defendant’s movements were limited by the...

In this drug case, the trial court properly denied a motion to suppress where no illegal seizure of the defendant occurred during a knock and talk and where exigent circumstances justified the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s home. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that...

Although the defendant was in handcuffs at the time of the questioning, he was not, based on the totality of the circumstances, “in custody” for purposes of Miranda. While the defendant was visiting his cousin’s house, a parole officer arrived to search of the cousin’s home. The parole...

Because an affidavit failed to specify when an informant witnessed the defendant’s allegedly criminal activities, there was insufficient evidence establishing probable cause to support issuance of the search warrant. In the affidavit, the officer stated that he received a counterfeit $100 bill...

An officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant for DWI. The officer responded to a call involving operation of a golf cart and serious injury to an individual. The defendant admitted to the officer that he was the driver of the golf cart. The defendant had “very red and glassy” eyes and “...

(1) Because the defendant was handcuffed and placed under arrest, the trial court erred by concluding that the defendant was not in custody when he made a statement to the officer. (2) The defendant was subject to an interrogation when, after handcuffing the defendant, placing him under arrest,...

Reasonable suspicion supported the stop of the defendant’s vehicle. The vehicle was stopped after the defendant left premises known as “Blazing Saddles.” Based on his experience making almost two dozen arrests in connection with drug activity at Blazing Saddles and other officers’ experiences at...

(1) A stop of the defendant’s vehicle was justified by reasonable suspicion. While on patrol in the early morning, the officer saw the defendant walking down the street. Directly behind him was another male, who appeared to be dragging a drugged or intoxicated female. The defendant and the other...

(1) The defendant was not in custody when he gave statements to officers at the hospital. The victim was killed in a robbery perpetrated by the defendant and his accomplice. The defendant was shot during the incident and brought to the hospital. He sought to suppress statements made to police...

(1) Because the defendant was handcuffed and placed under arrest, the trial court erred by concluding that the defendant was not in custody when he made a statement to the officer. (2) The defendant was subject to an interrogation when, after handcuffing the defendant, placing him under arrest,...

The defendant’s statements, made during the stop were voluntary and not the result of any custodial interrogation. None of the officers asked or said anything to the defendant to elicit the statement in question. Rather, the defendant volunteered the statement in response to one officer...

(1) In this post-Rodriguez case, the court held that because no reasonable suspicion existed to prolong the defendant’s detention once the purpose of a traffic stop had concluded, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a...

(1) In this post-Rodriguez case, the court held that reasonable suspicion supported the officer’s extension of the duration of the stop, including: the officer smelled marijuana on the defendant’s person, the officer learned from the defendant him that he had an impaired driving...

On remand from the NC Supreme Court the court held, in this murder case, that the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights were not violated. The defendant argued on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel during a...

State v. Romano, 247 N.C. App. 212 (Apr. 19, 2016) aff’d, 369 N.C. 678 (Jun 9 2017)

In this DWI case, the court held that the trial court did not err by suppressing blood draw evidence that an officer collected from a nurse who was treating the defendant. The trial court had found that no exigency existed justifying the warrantless search and that G.S. 20-16.2, as applied in...

In this drug trafficking case, the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend a traffic stop. After Officer Ward initiated a traffic stop and asked the driver for his license and registration, the driver produced his license but was unable to produce a registration. The driver’s license listed...

(1) In this drug trafficking case, the officer had reasonable suspicion to extend a traffic stop. After Officer Ward initiated a traffic stop and asked the driver for his license and registration, the driver produced his license but was unable to produce a registration. The driver’s license...

State v. Ladd, 246 N.C. App. 295 (Mar. 15, 2016)

In this peeping with a photographic device case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress with respect to evidence obtained during a search of the defendant’s external hard drives. The court rejected the notion that the defendant consented to a search of the external...

State v. Blue, 246 N.C. App. 259 (Mar. 15, 2016)

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because SBM is a civil, regulatory scheme, it is subject to the Rules of Civil Procedure and that the trial court erred by failing to exercise discretion under Rule 62(d) to stay the SBM hearing. The court concluded that because Rule 62...

The trial court erred by failing to conduct the appropriate analysis with respect to the defendant’s argument that SMB constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure. The trial court simply acknowledged that SBM constitutes a search and summarily concluded that the search was reasonable. As such...

State v. Ladd, 246 N.C. App. 295 (Mar. 15, 2016)

In this peeping with a photographic device case, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress with respect to evidence obtained during a search of the defendant’s external hard drives. The court rejected the notion that the defendant consented to a search of the external...

No fourth amendment violation occurred when officers entered the defendant’s driveway to investigate a shooting. When detectives arrived at the defendant’s property they found the gate to his driveway open. The officers did not recall observing a “no trespassing” sign that had been reported the...

State v. Collins, 245 N.C. App. 288 (Feb. 2, 2016) aff'd on other grounds, 369 N.C. 60 (Sep 23 2016)

In this drug case, the court held, over a dissent, that a strip search of the defendant did not violate the fourth amendment. When officers entered a residence to serve a warrant on someone other than the defendant, they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. When the defendant was located...

In this drug case, the officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop. The officer, who was in an unmarked patrol vehicle in the parking lot of a local post office, saw the defendant pull into the lot. The officer knew the defendant because he previously worked for the officer as an informant and...

In this drug case, the officer had reasonable suspicion for the stop. The officer, who was in an unmarked patrol vehicle in the parking lot of a local post office, saw the defendant pull into the lot. The officer knew the defendant because he previously worked for the officer as an informant and...

Because the officer saw the defendant drive through a red light, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle.

(1) Because the officer saw the defendant drive through a red light, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. (2) Where upon stopping the defendant’s vehicle the officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol and saw that the defendant had red glassy eyes, the defendant...

Because the officer saw the defendant drive through a red light, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the identification procedure used violated the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act (EIRA). Although a non-independent administrator was used, the administrator satisfied the requirements of G.S. 15A-284.52(c) for such administrators (he used the...

In this drug case, the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a warrantless search of her residence. According to the court: “The trial court’s findings that the officers observed a broken window, that the front door was unlocked, and...

In this drug case, the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a warrantless search of her residence. According to the court: “The trial court’s findings that the officers observed a broken window, that the front door was unlocked, and...

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 search of the defendant’s vehicle was properly done incident to the defendant’s arrest for an open container offense, where the officer had probable cause to arrest before the search even though the formal arrest did not occur until after the search was completed. The court noted that under...

The court reversed and remanded for further findings of fact regarding the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a search of the digital contents of a GPS device found on the defendant’s person which, as a result of the search, was determined to have been stolen. The...

The court reversed and remanded for further findings of fact regarding the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a search of the digital contents of a GPS device found on the defendant’s person which, as a result of the search, was determined to have been stolen. The...

The court reversed and remanded for further findings of fact regarding the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a search of the digital contents of a GPS device found on the defendant’s person which, as a result of the search, was determined to have been stolen. The...

In this DWI case, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. The officer observed the defendant’s vehicle swerve right, cross the line marking the outside of his lane of travel and almost strike the curb. The court found that this evidence, along with “the pedestrian...

Although the trial court properly found that the checkpoint had a legitimate proper purpose of checking for driver’s license and vehicle registration violations, the trial court failed to adequately determine the checkpoint’s reasonableness. The court held that the trial court’s “bare conclusion...

The Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule does not apply in civil drivers’ license revocation proceedings. The evidence used in the proceeding was obtained as a result of an unconstitutional stop; after the same evidence previously had been used to support criminal charges, it was suppressed and...

In this drug trafficking case, the trial court did not commit plain error by finding that officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. The court began by rejecting the State’s argument that the defendant’s evasive action while being followed by the police provided...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress DNA evidence obtained from his discarded cigarette butt. When the defendant refused to supply a DNA sample in connection with a rape and murder investigation, officers sought to obtain his DNA by other means. After the...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress DNA evidence obtained from his discarded cigarette butt. When the defendant refused to supply a DNA sample in connection with a rape and murder investigation, officers sought to obtain his DNA by other means. After the...

State v. Shaw, 238 N.C. App. 151 (Dec. 16, 2014)

When determining whether an officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle, the trial court properly considered statements made by other officers to the stopping officer that the defendant’s vehicle had weaved out of its lane of travel several times. Reasonable suspicion may...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the right to have a witness present for blood alcohol testing performed under G.S. 20-16.2 applies to blood draws taken pursuant to a search warrant. The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that failure to allow a witness to be present...

In an assault on an officer case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that evidence of his two assaults on law enforcement officers should be excluded as fruits of the poisonous tree because his initial arrest for resisting an officer was unlawful. The doctrine does not exclude evidence...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The State established inevitable discovery with respect to a search of the defendant’s vehicle that had previously been illegally seized where the evidence showed that an officer obtained the search warrant for the...

Even if the defendant had properly preserved the issue, the officer did not use excessive force by taking the defendant to the ground during a valid traffic stop.

In a child sexual assault case, the trial court erred by finding that the defendant’s statements were made involuntarily. Although the court found that an officer made improper promises to the defendant, it held, based on the totality of the circumstances, that the statement was voluntarily....

A search of the defendant’s garage pursuant to a search warrant was improper. Following up on a tip that the defendant was growing marijuana on his property, officers went to his residence. They knocked on the front door but received no response. They then went to the back of the house because...

Even if the defendant had properly preserved the issue, a frisk conducted during a valid traffic stop was proper where the officer knew that the defendant had prior drug convictions; the defendant appeared nervous; the defendant deliberately concealed his right hand and refused to open it...

State v. Davis, 237 N.C. App. 22 (Oct. 21, 2014)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that she was in custody within the meaning of Miranda during an interview at the police station about her missing child. The trial court properly used an objective test to determine whether the interview was custodial. Furthermore competent...

State v. Davis, 237 N.C. App. 22 (Oct. 21, 2014)

The trial court did not err by finding that the defendant’s statements were given freely and voluntarily. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that they were coerced by fear and hope. The court held that an officer’s promise that the defendant would “walk out” of the interview regardless...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a vehicle checkpoint. The checkpoint was conducted for a legitimate primary purpose of checking all passing drivers for DWI violations and was reasonable.

The trial court properly granted the defendant’s motion to suppress where no probable cause supported the defendant’s arrest for impaired driving and unsafe movement. The defendant was arrested after he left a bar, got in his SUV and backed into a motorcycle that was illegally parked behind him...

Probable cause supported the defendant’s arrest for DWI. When the officer stopped the defendant at a checkpoint, the defendant had bloodshot eyes and a moderate odor of alcohol. The defendant admitted to “drinking a couple of beers earlier” and that he “stopped drinking about an hour” before...

In this felony breaking and entering and larceny case, the trial court did not commit plain error by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress the victim’s show-up identification of the defendant as the person he found in his home on the date in question. Among other things, the court noted...

The trial court did not err by admitting in-court identification of the defendant by two officers. The defendant argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the officers’ in-court identifications because the procedure they used to identify him violated the Eyewitness...

A search of the defendant’s living area, which was connected to his wife’s store, was valid where his wife consented to the ALE officers’ request to search the living area.

The trial court did not err by admitting in-court identification of the defendant by two officers. The defendant argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the officers’ in-court identifications because the procedure they used to identify him violated the Eyewitness...

NC A&T campus police had territorial jurisdiction to execute a search warrant at the defendant’s off-campus private residence where A&T had entered into a Mutual Aid agreement with local police. The Agreement gave campus police authority to act off-campus with respect to offenses...

Although an officer “inappropriately” took documents related to the defendant’s civil action against A&T and covered by the attorney-client privilege during his search of her residence, the trial court properly suppressed this material and the officer’s actions did not otherwise invalidate...

A search of the defendant’s recording studio was proper. After the officers developed probable cause to search the recording studio but the defendant declined to give consent to search, the officers “froze” the scene and properly obtained a search warrant to search the studio.

Although a search of the defendant’s vehicle was not proper under Gant, it was authorized under the automobile exception where officers had probable cause that the vehicle contained marijuana. After officers saw a vehicle execute a three-point turn in the middle of an intersection,...

In this rape and murder case, no Fourth Amendment violation occurred when an officer seized a cigarette butt containing the defendant’s DNA. The defendant, a suspect in a murder case, refused four requests by the police to provide a DNA sample. Acting with the primary purpose of obtaining a...

In a case involving unlawful access to computers and identity theft, a search warrant authorizing a search of the defendant and her home and vehicle was supported by probable cause. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that hearsay evidence was improperly considered in the probable cause...

In this DWI case, the court held that under Missouri v. McNeely (the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant), exigent circumstances justified the warrantless blood...

After a consensual encounter with the defendant, reasonable suspicion supported the officer’s later detention of the driver. During the voluntary encounter the officer noticed the odor of alcohol coming from the defendant and observed an unopened container of beer in his truck. These...

No seizure occurred when an officer initially approached the defendant in response to a tip about an impaired driver. The officer used no physical force, approached the defendant’s vehicle on foot and engaged in conversation with him. The officer did not activate his blue lights and there was no...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress where the defendant was subjected to a seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the officer continued to detain the defendant after completing the original purpose of the stop without having reasonable,...

Rejecting the defendant’s argument that that “[t]he detectives’ lies, deceptions, and implantation of fear and hope established a coercive atmosphere”, the court relied on the trial court’s findings of fact and found that the defendant’s statement was voluntary.

The defendant’s statements, made while a police officer who responded to a domestic violence scene questioned the defendant’s girlfriend, were spontaneous and in not response to interrogation. The State conceded that the defendant was in custody at the time. The court rejected the defendant’s...

In a drug trafficking case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress drugs seized from a truck during a vehicle stop. The defendant argued that once the officer handed the driver the warning citation, the purpose of the stop was over and anything that occurred...

The court ruled that the trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. A wildlife officer approached the defendant, dressed in full camouflage and carrying a hunting rifle, and asked to see his hunting license. After the defendant showed his license, the officer asked how he...

The court remanded for findings of fact as to the third element of the plain view analysis. Investigating the defendant’s involvement in the theft of copper coils, an officer walked onto the defendant’s mobile home porch and knocked on the door. From the porch, the officer saw the coils in an...

In a DWI case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the checkpoint at issue was unconstitutional. The court first found that the checkpoint had a legitimate primary programmatic purpose, checking for potential driving violations. Next, it found that the checkpoint was reasonable.

An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk the defendant when the defendant was in a high crime area and made movements which the officer found suspicious. The defendant was in a public housing area patrolled by a Special Response Unit of U.S. Marshals and the DEA concentrating on...

An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk the defendant when the defendant was in a high crime area and made movements which the officer found suspicious. The defendant was in a public housing area patrolled by a Special Response Unit of U.S. Marshals and the DEA concentrating on...

Because the trial court failed to make adequate findings to permit review of its determination on the defendant’s motion to suppress that the defendant was not placed under arrest when he was detained by an officer for nearly two hours, the court remanded for findings on this issue. The court...

The trial court did not err by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a vehicle checkpoint. Specifically, the trial court did not err by concluding that a lack of a written policy in full force and effect at the time of the defendant’s stop at the checkpoint...

State v. Elder, 232 N.C. App. 80 (Jan. 21, 2014) modified and affirmed on other grounds, 368 N.C. 70 (Jun 11 2015)

(1) The district court exceeded its statutory authority by ordering a general search of the defendant’s person, vehicle, and residence for unspecified “weapons” as a provision of the ex parte DVPO under G.S. 50B-3(a)(13). Thus, the resulting search of the defendant’s home was unconstitutional....

No prejudicial error occurred when the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress statements made by him while being transported in a camera-equipped police vehicle. After being read his Miranda rights, the defendant invoked his right to counsel. He made the statements at...

In a case where the State conceded that the officer had neither probable cause nor reasonable suspicion to seize the defendant, the court decided an issue of first impression and held that the officer’s seizure of the defendant was justified by the “community caretaking” doctrine. The officer...

In this child sex case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the affidavit was based on false and misleading information, concluding that to the extent the officer-affiant made mistakes in the affidavit, they did not result from false and misleading information and that the affidavit...

In this child sex case, the court held that although the magistrate violated G.S. 15A-245 by considering the officer’s sworn testimony when determining whether probable cause supported the warrant but failing to record that testimony as required by the statute, this was not a basis for granting...

In this child sex case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant authorizing a search of his house. The victim told the police about various incidents occurring in several locations (the defendant’s home, a motel,...

Where the defendant had no ownership or possessory interest in the warehouse that was searched, he had no standing to challenge the search on Fourth Amendment grounds.

The defendant had no standing to challenge a search of a vehicle when he was a passenger, did not own the vehicle, and asserted no possessory interest in it or its contents.

In granting the defendant’s motion to suppress in a DWI case, the trial court erred by concluding that a licensed security officer was a state actor when he stopped the defendant’s vehicle. Determining whether a private citizen is a state actor requires consideration of the totality of the...

In this DWI case, the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained from blood samples taken at a hospital without a search warrant where probable cause and exigent circumstances supported the warrantless blood draw. Noting the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent...

The trial court erred by concluding that the police had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of the defendant, a passenger in a stopped vehicle. After detecting an odor of marijuana on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the officers conducted a warrantless search of the vehicle and...

Officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant based on an anonymous tip from a taxicab driver. The taxicab driver anonymously contacted 911 by cell phone and reported that a red Mustang convertible with a black soft top, license plate XXT-9756, was driving erratically, running...

An out-of-court show-up identification was not impermissibly suggestive. Police told a victim that they “believed they had found the suspect.” The victim was then taken to where the defendant was standing in a front yard with officers. With a light shone on the defendant, the victim identified...

State v. Verkerk, 229 N.C. App. 416 (Sept. 3, 2013) review granted, 367 N.C. 483 (Jun 12 2014)

(1) A seizure occurred when the defendant stopped her vehicle after a fire truck following behind her flashed its red lights and activated its siren. The fireman took this action after observing the defendant, among other things, weave out of her lane of traffic and almost hit a passing bus. (2...

The trial court did not err by determining that the defendant was seized while walking on a sidewalk. Although the officers used no physical force to restrain the defendant, both were in uniform and had weapons. One officer blocked the sidewalk with his vehicle and another used his bicycle to...

The trial court did not err by concluding that the seizure was unsupported by reasonable suspicion. The officers observed the defendant walking down the sidewalk with a clear plastic cup in his hands filled with a clear liquid. The defendant entered his vehicle, remained in it for a period of...

The defendant’s confession was involuntary. The defendant’s first confession was made before Miranda warnings were given. The officer then gave the defendant Miranda warnings and had the defendant repeat his confession. The trial court suppressed the defendant’s pre-Miranda...

In this DWI case, the court held that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. At 10:05 pm on a Wednesday night an officer noticed that the defendant’s high beams were on. The officer also observed the defendant weave once within his lane of travel. When pressed...

State v. Miller, 228 N.C. App. 496 (Aug. 6, 2013) rev’d on other grounds, 367 N.C. 702 (Jan 1 2014)

Exigent circumstances—investigation of a possible burglary—supported officers’ warrantless entry into the defendant’s home. The police department received a burglar alarm report concerning a suspected breaking and entering at the defendant’s home. The first arriving officer noticed a broken back...

An officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. A “be on the lookout” call was issued after a citizen caller reported that there was a cup of beer in a gold Toyota sedan with license number VST-8773 parked at the Kangaroo gas station at the corner of Wake Forest Road and...

State v. Dial, 228 N.C. App. 83 (June 18, 2013)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered as a result of a protective sweep of his residence where the officers had a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts that the residence harbored an individual who posed a danger to the...

An officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. A “be on the lookout” call was issued after a citizen caller reported that there was a cup of beer in a gold Toyota sedan with license number VST-8773 parked at the Kangaroo gas station at the corner of Wake Forest Road and...

An investigative stop of the defendant’s vehicle was lawful. Officers stopped the defendant’s vehicle because it was registered in her name, her license was suspended, and they were unable to determine the identity of the driver. 

King v. Town of Chapel Hill, 227 N.C. App. 545 (June 4, 2013) aff’d in part, rev’d in part, 367 N.C. 400 (Jun 12 2014)

(1) Reversing the trial court, the court held that the Town of Chapel Hill’s Towing Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power under G.S. 160A-174(a). (2) The trial court improperly enjoined enforcement of the Town’s Mobile Phone Ordinance. The ordinance prohibits the use of mobile phones...

In a drug trafficking case, a search warrant was supported by probable cause. The affiant was an officer with more than 22 years of experience and who had been involved in numerous drug investigations. The affidavit included background on the circumstances of the detective’s dealings with the...

In Re V.C.R., 227 N.C. App. 80 (May. 7, 2013)

Although an officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a juvenile, the officer’s subsequent conduct of ordering the juvenile to empty her pockets constituted a search and this search was illegal; it was not incident to an arrest nor consensual. The district court thus erred by denying the juvenile...

In Re V.C.R., 227 N.C. App. 80 (May. 7, 2013)

(1) An officer had reasonable suspicion that a juvenile was violating G.S. 14-313(c) (unlawful for person under 18 to accept receipt of cigarettes) and thus the officer’s initial stop of the juvenile was proper. 

The court rejected the State’s argument that the defendant initiated contact with the police following his initial request for counsel and thus waived his right to counsel. After the defendant asserted his right to counsel, the police returned him to the interrogation room and again asked if he...

The court rejected the State’s argument that the defendant initiated contact with the police following his initial request for counsel and thus waived his right to counsel. After the defendant asserted his right to counsel, the police returned him to the interrogation room and again asked if he...

The trial court’s findings of fact support its rejection of the defendant’s argument that the show of force by law enforcement during a traffic stop amounted to an arrest.

The trial court improperly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress. An officer saw the defendant walking in the middle of the street. The officer stopped the defendant to warn him about impeding the flow of street traffic. After issuing this warning, the officer frisked the defendant because...

The trial court did not err by finding the defendant’s statements to his wife voluntary. The defendant’s wife spoke with him five times while he was in prison and while wearing a recording device provided by the police. The wife did not threaten defendant but did make up evidence which she...

In re D.A.C., 225 N.C. App. 547 (Feb. 19, 2013)

The trial court did not err by denying a fourteen-year-old juvenile’s motion to suppress his oral admissions to investigating officers. The motion asserted that the juvenile was in custody and had not been advised of his rights under Miranda and G.S. 7B-2101. The court found that the...

Officers had probable cause to arrest the defendant for impaired driving. An officer saw the defendant lying behind a car on the ground, with his shirt over his head and his head in the sleeve hole. The defendant appeared unconscious. When the officer tried to arouse the defendant, he woke up...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a photographic lineup was impermissibly suggestive because the defendant’s photo was smaller than others in the array.

A thirteen-year-old juvenile was not in custody within the meaning of G.S. 7B-2101 or Miranda during a roadside questioning by an officer. Responding to a report of a vehicle accident, the officer saw the wrecked vehicle, which had crashed into a utility pole, and three people walking...

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of soliciting a child by computer and attempted indecent liberties on a child, the trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s laptop would have been inevitably discovered. The trial court ordered suppressed the defendant’s statements to...

The court rejected the juvenile’s argument that his statement was involuntary. The juvenile had argued that because G.S. 20-166(c) required him to provide his name and other information to the nearest officer, his admission to driving the vehicle was involuntary. The court rejected this argument...

In a drug case the court held that probable cause and exigent circumstances supported a roadside search of the defendant’s underwear conducted after a vehicle stop and that the search was conducted in a reasonable manner. After finding nothing in the defendant’s outer clothing, the officer...

A thirteen-year-old juvenile was not in custody within the meaning of G.S. 7B-2101 or Miranda during a roadside questioning by an officer. Responding to a report of a vehicle accident, the officer saw the wrecked vehicle, which had crashed into a utility pole, and three people walking...

Reversing the trial court, the court held that probable cause supported issuance of a search warrant to search the defendant’s residence. Although the affidavit was based on anonymous callers, law enforcement corroborated specific information provided by a caller so that the tip had a sufficient...

Reversing the trial court, the court held that probable cause supported issuance of a search warrant to search the defendant’s residence. Although the affidavit was based an anonymous caller, law enforcement corroborated specific information provided by the caller so that the tip had a...

No reasonable suspicion supported a traffic stop. The State had argued reasonable suspicion based on the driver’s alleged crossing of the fog line, her and her passenger’s alleged nervousness and failure to make eye contact with officers as they drove by and alongside the patrol car, and the...

A passenger has standing to challenge a stop of a vehicle in which the passenger was riding.

(1) An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle for speeding. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because the officer only observed the vehicle for three to five seconds, the officer did not have a reasonable opportunity to judge the vehicle’s speed. The...

The rule of State v. Walker, 269 N.C. 135 (1967) (State may not introduce evidence of a written confession unless that written statement bears certain indicia of voluntariness and accuracy) does not apply where an officer testified to the defendant’s oral statements.

In a drug case, the trial court did not commit plain error by concluding that an officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct a warrantless stop. The officer received information from two informants who had previously provided him with reliable information leading to several arrests; the...

The discovery of marijuana on a passenger provided probable cause to search a vehicle. After stopping the defendant and determining that the defendant had a revoked license, the officer told the defendant that the officer’s K-9 dog would walk around the vehicle. At that point, the defendant...

Seizure of cocaine was justified under the “plain feel” doctrine. While searching the defendant the officer “felt a large bulge” in his pocket and immediately knew based on its packing that it was narcotics.

The defendant’s confession was voluntary. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he “was cajoled and harassed by the officers into making statements that were not voluntary,” that the detectives “put words in his mouth on occasion,” and “bamboozled [him] into speaking against his...

(1) After being read his Miranda rights, the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the fact that he never signed the waiver of rights form established that that no waiver occurred. The court also rejected the...

After waiving his right to counsel the defendant did not unambiguously ask to speak a lawyer. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he made a clear request for counsel. It concluded: “Defendant never expressed a clear desire to speak with an attorney. Rather, he appears to have been...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress property seized in a warrantless search. After receiving a tip that a person living at a specified address was growing marijuana, officers went to the address and knocked on the front and side doors. After getting no answer, two...

In this child sexual abuse case, the defendant’s confession was not involuntary. After briefly speaking to the defendant at his home about the complaint, an officer asked the defendant to come to the police station to answer questions. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his...

(1) The trial court erred in connection with its ruling on a suppression motion in an impaired driving case. The trial court failed to look beyond whether the defendant’s driving was normal in assessing whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. (2) The officer...

The trial court erred by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress on grounds that officers impermissibly prolonged a lawful vehicle stop. Officers McKaughan and Jones stopped the defendant’s vehicle after it twice weaved out of its lane. The officers had a drug dog with them. McKaughan...

Citing Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 442 (1984), the court held that the defendant was not in custody for purposes of Miranda during a traffic stop.

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to compel disclosure of the identity of a confidential informant who provided the defendant’s cell phone number to the police. Applying Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53 (1957), the court noted that the defendant failed...

On what it described as an issue of first impression in North Carolina, the court held that a drug dog’s positive alert at the front side driver’s door of a motor vehicle does not give rise to probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of the person of a recent passenger of the vehicle who...

(1) On remand from the N.C. Supreme Court for consideration of an issue not addressed in the original decision, the court held that the trial court did not err by granting the defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine found following the defendant’s arrest. The State argued that suppression was...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to disclose the identity of a confidential informant in a drug case where—for reasons discussed in the court’s opinion—the defendant failed to show that the circumstances of his case required disclosure. 

State v. Bell, 221 N.C. App. 535 (July 17, 2012)

The trial court did not err by finding that the defendant consented to a search of his residence. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court must make specific findings regarding the voluntariness of consent even when there is no conflict in the evidence on the issue. Here...

The defendant’s waiver of Miranda rights was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Among other things, the defendant was familiar with the criminal justice system, no threats or promises were made to him before he agreed to talk, and the defendant was not deprived of any necessaries....

No reasonable and articulable suspicion supported seizure of the defendant made as a result of an anonymous tip. When evaluating an anonymous tip in this context, the court must determine whether the tip taken as a whole possessed sufficient indicia of reliability. If not, the court must assess...

The defendant was seized when officers parked directly behind his stopped vehicle, drew their firearms, and ordered the defendant and his passenger to exit the vehicle. After the defendant got out of his vehicle, an officer put the defendant on the ground and handcuffed him.

An officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant after he felt something hard between the defendant’s buttocks during a weapons pat down. Based on his training and experience the officer inferred that the defendant may have been hiding drugs in his buttocks. The court noted that the...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that an officer’s discovery of drugs in his buttocks occurred during a separate, second search after a pat down was completed. The drugs were found during a valid pat down for weapons.

The juvenile defendant was not in custody for purposes of Miranda. After the defendant had been identified as a possible suspect in several breaking or entering cases, two detectives dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle went to the defendant’s home and asked to speak...

Over a dissent, the court held that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found as a result of a strip search. The court found that the officer had, based on the facts presented, ample basis for believing that the defendant had contraband beneath his...

A search of the defendant’s jacket incident to arrest was lawful. When the officer grabbed the defendant, the defendant ran. While attempting to evade capture, the defendant tried to punch the officer while keeping his right hand inside his jacket. The defendant refused to remove his hand from...

Because probable cause supported the issuance of arrest warrants for assault on a female, the defendants were shielded by public official immunity from the plaintiff’s claims based on false imprisonment and other grounds. The defendant officer told the magistrate that the plaintiff, a teacher,...

The search of a vehicle driven by the defendant was valid under Gant as incident to the arrest of the defendant’s passenger for possession of drug paraphernalia. Officers had a reasonable belief that evidence relevant to the passenger’s possession of drug paraphernalia might be found in...

(1) In a store robbery case, the court found no plain error in the trial court's determination that a photo lineup was not impermissibly suggestive. The defendant argued that the photo lineup was impermissibly suggestive because one of the officers administering the procedure was involved in the...

Officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. Officers had received an anonymous tip that a vehicle containing “a large amount of pills and drugs” would be traveling from Georgia through Macon County and possibly Graham County; the vehicle was described as a small or mid-...

Roadside strip searches of the defendant were reasonable and did not violate the constitution. The court first rejected the State’s argument that the searches were not strip searches. During both searches the defendant’s private areas were observed by an officer and during one search the...

In Re Baker, 220 N.C. App. 108 (Apr. 17, 2012)

Where search warrants were unsealed in accordance with procedures set forth in a Senior Resident Superior Court Judge’s administrative order and where the State failed to make a timely motion to extend the period for which the documents were sealed, the trial judge did not err by unsealing the...

The trial court erred by concluding that an officer lacked reasonable suspicion to detain the defendant beyond the scope of a routine traffic stop. The officer lawfully stopped the vehicle for a seatbelt violation but then extended the detention for arrival of a canine unit. The State argued...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent was violated where there was ample evidence to support the trial court’s finding that the defendant did not invoke that right. The defendant had argued that his refusal to talk to police about the crimes...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his confession was improperly obtained after he invoked his right to counsel. Although the defendant invoked his right to counsel before making the statements at issue, because he re-initiated the conversation with police, his right to counsel was...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that his confession was involuntary because it was obtained through police threats. Although the defendant argued that the police threatened to imprison his father unless he confessed, the trial court’s findings of fact were more than sufficient to...

The trial court erred by granting the defendant's motion to suppress on grounds that a checkpoint was unlawful under G.S. 20-16.3A. Because the defendant did not actually stop at the checkpoint, its invalidity was irrelevant to whether an officer had sufficient reasonable suspicion to stop the...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress three statements made while he was in the hospital. The defendant had argued that medication he received rendered the statements involuntary. Based on testimony of the detective who did the interview, hospital records, and...

An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle where the defendant’s weaving in his own lane was sufficiently frequent and erratic to prompt evasive maneuvers from other drivers. Distinguishing cases holding that weaving within a lane, standing alone, is insufficient to...

An officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he detained the defendant. After 10 pm the officer learned of a report of suspicious activity at Auto America. When the officer arrived at the scene he saw the defendant, who generally matched the...

A consent search of the defendant’s vehicle was not invalid because it involved taking off the rear quarter panels. The trial court found that both rear quarter panels were fitted with a carpet/cardboard type interior trim and that they “were loose.” Additionally, the trial court found that the...

An officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he detained the defendant. After 10 pm the officer learned of a report of suspicious activity at Auto America. When the officer arrived at the scene he saw the defendant, who generally matched the...

The defendant’s voluntary consent to search his vehicle extended to the officer’s looking under the hood and in the vehicle’s air filter compartment.

An officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he detained the defendant. After 10 pm the officer learned of a report of suspicious activity at Auto America. When the officer arrived at the scene he saw the defendant, who generally matched the...

An officer lawfully stopped a vehicle after observing the defendant drive approximately 10 mph above the speed limit. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the traffic stop was a pretext to search for drugs as irrelevant in light of the fact that the defendant was lawfully stopped for...

An officer lawfully stopped a vehicle after observing the defendant drive approximately 10 mph above the speed limit. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the traffic stop was a pretext to search for drugs as irrelevant in light of the fact that the defendant was lawfully stopped for...

Reasonable suspicion supported the length of the stop. The officer’s initial questions regarding the defendant’s license, route of travel, and occupation were within the scope of the traffic stop. Any further detention was appropriate in light of the following facts: the defendant did not have a...

The defendant did not withdraw his consent to search his car when, while sitting in a nearby patrol car, he said several times: “they’re tearing up my trunk.” A reasonable person would not have considered these statements to be an unequivocal revocation of consent. 

The defendant’s response to the officer’s questioning while on the ground and being restrained with handcuffs should have been suppressed because the defendant had not been given Miranda warnings. The officer’s questioning constituted an interrogation and a reasonable person in the...

Although the search of the defendant’s vehicle was not valid as one incident to arrest under Gant, it was a valid consent search.

The trial court did not err by rejecting the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained by officers when they entered the property in question. The court concluded that the property constituted an “open field,” so that the investigating officers’ entry onto the property and the...

A pretrial show-up was not impermissibly suggestive. The robbery victim had ample opportunity to view the defendant at the time of the crime and there was no suggestion that the description of the perpetrator given by the victim to the police officer was inaccurate. During the show-up, the...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of his alleged impairment where the evidence was the fruit of an illegal stop. An officer who was surveying an area in the hope of locating robbery suspects saw the defendant pull off to the side of a highway in a...

The trial court’s admission of photo identification evidence did not violate the defendant’s right to due process. The day after a break-in at her house, one of the victims, a high school student, became upset in school. Her mother was called to school and brought along the student’s sister, who...

The trial court’s admission of photo identification evidence did not violate the defendant’s right to due process. The day after a break-in at her house, one of the victims, a high school student, became upset in school. Her mother was called to school and brought along the student’s sister, who...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress statements made while a search warrant was being executed. The defendant and his wife were present when the search warrant was executed. After handcuffing the defendant, an officer escorted him to a bathroom, read him ...

An officer executing a search warrant at a home reasonably believed that for officer safety he should pat down the defendant, who was present at the house when officers arrived to execute the search warrant. The search warrant application stated that illegal narcotics were being sold from the...

The evidence supported the trial court’s finding that based on an officer’s training and experience, he immediately formed the opinion that a bulge in the defendant’s pants contained a controlled substance when conducting a pat down. The officer was present at the location to execute a search...

The trial court erred denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. Officers responded to a complaint of loud music in a location they regarded as a high crime area. The officers did not see the defendant engaged in any suspicious activity and did not see any device capable of producing loud music...

In re D.B., 214 N.C. App. 489 (Aug. 16, 2011)

The trial court erred by admitting evidence obtained by an officer who exceeded the proper scope of a Terry frisk. After the officer stopped the juvenile, he did a weapons frisk and found nothing. When the officer asked the juvenile to identify himself, the juvenile did not respond....

The trial court erred denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. Officers responded to a complaint of loud music in a location they regarded as a high crime area. The officers did not see the defendant engaged in any suspicious activity and did not see any device capable of producing loud music...

In a drug case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress when an officer saw the item in question—a bong—in plain view while standing on the defendant’s front porch and looking through the open front door. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the...

The fact that officers advised the defendant that if he did not consent to giving oral swabs and surrendering certain items of clothing they would detain him until they obtained a search warrant did not negate the defendant’s voluntary consent to the seizure of those items.

State v. Ellison, 213 N.C. App. 300 (July 19, 2011) aff'd on other grounds, 366 N.C. 439 (Mar 8 2013)

An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. An informant told the officer that after having his prescriptions for hydrocodone and Xanax filled, Mr. Shaw would immediately take the medication to defendant Treadway’s residence, where he sold the medications to Treadway;...

State v. Ellison, 213 N.C. App. 300 (July 19, 2011) aff'd on other grounds, 366 N.C. 439 (Mar 8 2013)

An officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle. An informant told the officer that after having his prescriptions for hydrocodone and Xanax filled, Mr. Shaw would immediately take the medication to defendant Treadway’s residence, where he sold the medications to Treadway;...

State v. Ellison, 213 N.C. App. 300 (July 19, 2011) aff'd on other grounds, 366 N.C. 439 (Mar 8 2013)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for disclosure of an informant’s identity where the informant’s existence was sufficiently corroborated under G.S. 15A-978(b).

Officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant. When officers on a gang patrol noticed activity at a house, they parked their car to observe. The area was known for criminal activity. The defendant exited a house and approached the officers’ car. One of the officers had previously made...

Officers had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant. When officers on a gang patrol noticed activity at a house, they parked their car to observe. The area was known for criminal activity. The defendant exited a house and approached the officers’ car. One of the officers had previously made...

An officer’s act of handcuffing the defendant during a Terry stop was reasonable and did not transform the stop into an arrest. The officer observed what he believed to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction between the defendant and another individual; the defendant was sitting in the back...

The defendant was not in custody when he made a statement to detectives. The defendant rode with the detectives to the police station voluntarily, without being frisked or handcuffed. He was told at least three times — once in the car, once while entering the police station, and once at the...

In re A.J.M-B, 212 N.C. App. 586 (June 21, 2011)

The trial court erred by denying the juvenile’s motion to dismiss a charge of resisting a public officer when no reasonable suspicion supported a stop of the juvenile (the activity that the juvenile allegedly resisted). An anonymous caller reported to law enforcement “two juveniles in Charlie...

The court held in this drug case, the search warrant was supported by probable cause. In his affidavit, the Investigator stated that he had received information within the past 30 days from confidential reliable informants (“CRIs”) that the defendant was selling narcotics from his residence;...

The defendant was not in custody when he confessed to three homicides. Officers approached the defendant as he was walking on the road, confirmed his identity and that he was okay, told him that three people had been injured at his residence, and asked him if he knew anything about the situation...

State v. Clark, 211 N.C. App. 60 (Apr. 19, 2011)

A reasonable person in the defendant’s position would not have believed that he or she was under arrest or restrained in such a way as to necessitate Miranda warnings. Key factors in the Miranda custody determination include: whether a suspect is told he or she is free to leave...

The trial court did not err by concluding that the vehicle checkpoint passed constitutional muster. The trial court properly concluded that the primary programmatic purpose of the checkpoint was “the detection of drivers operating a motor vehicle while impaired and that the ‘procedure was not...

(1) The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress asserting that an eyewitness’s pretrial identification was unduly suggestive. The eyewitness had the opportunity to view the defendant at close range for an extended period of time and was focused on and paying attention to...

Even if a stop and arrest of the defendant by campus police officers while off campus violated G.S. 15A-402(f), the violation was not substantial. The stop and arrest were constitutional and the officers were acting within the scope of their mutual aid agreement with the relevant municipality....

Citing California v. Hodari D, 499 U.S. 621 (1991), the court held that the defendant was not seized when he dropped a plastic baggie containing controlled substances. An officer was patrolling at night in an area where illegal drugs were often sold, used, and maintained. When the...

Because the defendant had not been seized when he discarded a plastic baggie beside a public road, the baggie was abandoned property in which the defendant no longer retained a reasonable expectation of privacy. As such, no Fourth Amendment violation occurred when an officer obtained the baggie...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress asserting that his interrogation was not electronically recorded in compliance with G.S. 15A-211. The statute applies to interrogations occurring on or after March 1, 2008; the interrogation at issue occurred more than one...