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Criminal Practice – Petition for Writ of Certiorari – Guilty Plea – Stolen Weapon & Drug Possession

State v. Rouson (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-07-0991, 7 pp.) (Wanda G. Bryant, J.) Appealed from Martin County Superior Court (Wayland J. Sermons Jr., J.) N.C. App.

Holding: A traffic stop and subsequent search did not violate defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment. The trial court found that the vehicle held five men, and the backseat passengers (including defendant) failed to follow the officers’ instructions to keep their hands on the back of the front seat where the officers could see them. When defendant got out of the vehicle as requested, an officer told him he would be patted down for weapons, and defendant admitted he had a gun. The officer removed a pistol from defendant’s waistband, conducted a search incident to arrest, and found cocaine in defendant’s pocket.

The trial court concluded that the officer had sufficient concern for his safety to conduct a weapons frisk, and he had probable cause to search defendant pursuant to his arrest for carrying a concealed weapon. The trial court’s conclusions are supported by its findings of fact. Defendant’s argument — that the show of force by law enforcement following the traffic stop amounted to an arrest and search of his person without probable cause – does not reveal an error warranting the issuance of a writ of certiorari.

Defendant’s petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Where defendant asserts no prejudice based on entry of his guilty plea, we fail to see the necessity for re-entry of the plea after the establishment of a more thorough factual basis for it.

 


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