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Tag Archives: Criminal Practice

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – First Impression – Drug Dog Sniff of Vehicle – Recent Passenger (access required)

State v. Smith At a gas station, defendant, another passenger, and the driver got out of a car that was playing loud music. The driver was ticketed for a noise ordinance violation, and a drug dog alerted to a controlled substance at the driver’s door. These circumstances did not give police reasonable cause to search defendant’s person.

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Criminal Practice – Murder – Indictment Amendment – Date – Alibi Defense — Evidence – Witness Statements (access required)

State v. Avent Although defendant was relying on an alibi defense, the amendment of the murder date in the indictment did not prejudice him. He was still able to present an alibi for the corrected date of the murder; moreover, witness statements and the autopsy gave the correct date, so defendant was not surprised by the amendment of the indictment.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Suppression Motion – Insufficient Findings (access required)

State v. O’Connor Where the prosecution and the defense presented conflicting testimony as to defendant’s speed and manner of driving and whether defendant and the arresting officer made eye contact before the officer started following defendant, the trial court should have made findings of fact in support of its order granting defendant’s motion to suppress evidence from the traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure — Cocaine Possession – Abandoned Property (access required)

State v. Joe It is the law of this case that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to arrest defendant. Officers discovered a bag of cocaine near where defendant was found, and they seized it only after defendant was unlawfully arrested and handcuffed. Because defendant’s abandonment of the contraband was the product of his illegal arrest, it cannot be said to have been voluntarily abandoned. Accordingly, the cocaine was obtained as the result of unlawful police conduct, and the trial court properly suppressed it.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Confrontation Right – Absence from Trial – Evidence of Hospitalization – Assault – Restitution – Character Evidence (access required)

State v. Anderson When defendant didn’t show up for the second day of his trial, he had the burden of explaining his absence. He attempted to explain his absence by offering the following evidence: (1) a phone call from Stacie Wilson, a person who failed to provide any information as to who she was or what hospital defendant was in and (2) a note from Presbyterian Hospital indicating that defendant had been treated there at some point, but which lacked any indication of the date or time of treatment. This evidence was insufficient to satisfy defendant’s burden to explain his absence. Accordingly, defendant waived his right to confrontation.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Double Jeopardy — Sexual Assault & Kidnapping – Restraint –Expert Witness — Credibility (access required)

State v. Martin Where defendant restrained the victim solely for the purpose of committing sexual assaults and strangulation, the restraint operated as an inherent part of the sexual offenses and the strangulation and cannot satisfy the restraint element of kidnapping.

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Criminal Practice – Weapon Possession – Constructive Possession – Confession – Corpus Delicti Rule – Marijuana Possession (access required)

State v. Cox In a car with a driver and three passengers, defendant was seated in the front passenger seat. The driver ran when police arrived, and a gun was found 10 or 12 feet from the car, along the driver’s flight path. Defendant’s mere statement that he owned the gun (after police threatened to charge all three passengers – including defendant’s younger brother – with possession) was insufficient to support the charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.

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Criminal Practice – Post-Conviction DNA Testing – Burden of Proof – Materiality – Insufficient Showing (access required)

State v. Foster When a defendant seeks post-conviction DNA testing, the burden is on the defendant to make the materiality showing required by G.S. § 15A-269(a)(1). Here, defendant’s motion stated only, “The ability to conduct the required DNA testing is material to the Defendant’s defense.” Where defendant has provided no other explanation of why DNA testing would be material to his defense, he has failed to establish a condition precedent to the trial court’s granting of his motion.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Confrontation Right – Absence from Trial – Evidence of Hospitalization – Assault – Restitution – Character Evidence (access required)

State v. Anderson When defendant didn’t show up for the second day of his trial, he had the burden of explaining his absence. He attempted to explain his absence by offering the following evidence: (1) a phone call from Stacie Wilson, a person who failed to provide any information as to who she was or what hospital defendant was in and (2) a note from Presbyterian Hospital indicating that defendant had been treated there at some point, but which lacked any indication of the date or time of treatment. This evidence was insufficient to satisfy defendant’s burden to explain his absence. Accordingly, defendant waived his right to confrontation.

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