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., 10/18/2021
E.g., 10/18/2021

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...

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...

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...

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 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 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...

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...

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...

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:...

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 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...

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....

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 exclusionary rule does not apply in a civil license revocation proceeding.

Even if the defendant was arrested without probable cause, his subsequent criminal conduct of giving the officers a false name, date of birth, and social security number need not be suppressed. “The exclusionary rule does not operate to exclude evidence of crimes committed subsequent to an...

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