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Criminal Practice — Search & Seizure – Police Dog – Intruder Search – Marijuana Discovery

State v. Miller (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-06-1198, 20 pp.) (Robert Hunter, J.) (Beasley, J., not participating) Appealed from Rowan County Superior Court (Joseph Crosswhite, J.) On discretionary review from the Court of Appeals. N.C. S. Ct.

Holding: While searching a house for an intruder, a police dog found trash bags in a closet and nuzzled them open to reveal marijuana. If the dog’s nuzzling of the bags was instinctive, undirected, and unguided by his officer handlers, then the dog was not an instrumentality of the police at that instant, and his actions were not a search within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment or N.C. Const. art. I, § 20.

We reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the trial court’s partial grant of defendant’s motion to suppress, and we remand for further findings.


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