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Criminal Practice — Search & Seizure – Anders Brief – Body Cam Shut Off – Sentencing – Substantial Assistance

Our review of the record shows competent evidence to support the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of the search of his home. The circumstances of the search reflect that defendant was aware of and cooperating in the search and was on notice of the execution of the warrant. Body cam footage of the warrant execution also shows that the law enforcement officers announced their presence before entering the residence, with defendant standing nearby. Furthermore, the officers executing the search complied with departmental guidelines and directives in turning off their body-worn cameras at the direction of a supervising officer. The trial court properly found that the law enforcement officers did not act in bad faith by turning off their body-worn cameras and that only potentially useful evidence was lost.

We find no error in defendant’s convictions of trafficking in opium by possession and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Although defense counsel argued that defendant’s sentence should be mitigated due to substantial assistance, the trial court chose to credit defendant with substantial assistance by consolidating the charges set out in one of defendant’s indictments into one offense. The trial court did not err in concluding that defendant’s efforts did not rise to the level of substantial assistance to be applied to multiple offenses.


(Murphy, J.): After examining the record, I have identified multiple issues of arguable merit: (1) the application of defendant’s substantial assistance to sentence mitigation under G.S. § 90-95(h)(5) and (2) whether law enforcement’s execution of the search warrant violated the notice requirements of G.S. § 15-A-249 when they opened defendant’s storm door and then his main door before announcing their presence. I would remand for the appointment of new appellate counsel to provide briefing on these and any other issues of potential merit, such as ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

State v. Robinson (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-203-21, 19 pp.) (John Arrowood, J.) (Hunter Murphy, J., dissenting) Appealed from Guilford County Superior Court (Gregory Hayes, J.) Brenda Rivera for the state; Richard Costanza for defendant. 2021-NCCOA-533


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