Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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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

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E.g., 10/17/2021
E.g., 10/17/2021

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 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...

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. 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,...

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...

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...

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 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...

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....

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 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...

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 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 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 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.

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...

An encounter between the defendant and an officer did not constitute a seizure. The officer parked his patrol car on the opposite side of the street from the defendant’s parked car; thus, the officer did not physically block the defendant’s vehicle from leaving. The officer did not activate his...

No stop occurred when the defendant began to run away as the officers exited their vehicle. The defendant did not stop or submit to the officers’ authority at this time.

State v. Morton, 198 N.C. App. 206 (July 21, 2009) rev’d on other grounds, 363 N.C. 737 (Dec 11 2009)

No seizure occurred when officers approached the defendant and asked to speak with him regarding a shooting. The defendant submitted to questioning without physical force or show of authority by the police; the officers did not raise their weapons or activate their blue lights. 

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