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.

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E.g., 10/22/2021
E.g., 10/22/2021

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...

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...

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...

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...

(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”...

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...

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...

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

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...

(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...

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...

Officers had reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle in which the defendant was a passenger based on the officers’ good faith belief that the driver had a revoked license and information about the defendant’s drug sales provided by three informants. Two of the informants were confidential...

State v. Ford, 208 N.C. App. 699 (Dec. 21, 2010)

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress when officers had reasonable suspicion to believe that the defendant committed a traffic violation supporting the traffic stop. The stop was premised on the defendant’s alleged violation of G.S. 20-129(d), requiring that a motor...

The trial court properly concluded that an officer had reasonable suspicion to believe that the defendant was committing a traffic violation when he saw the defendant driving on a public street while using his windshield wipers in inclement weather but not having his taillights on. The trial...

The officer had reasonable suspicion to stop when the officer saw the defendant commit a violation of G.S. 20-154(a) (driver must give signal when turning whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement). Because the defendant was driving in medium traffic, a short...

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