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Tag Archives: search & seizure

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – DWI – Reasonable Suspicion – Wide Turn (access required)

State v. Osterhoudt A state trooper did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when the trooper stopped defendant for crossing a double yellow line while making a right turn. Although defendant did not – as the trooper mistakenly thought – violate G.S. § 20-146(a), he did violate G.S. §§ 20-146(d) and 20-153(a).

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Estimated Speed (access required)

U.S. v. Mubdi The 4th Circuit upholds a traffic stop based on two officers’ separate visual estimates of defendant’s speed, as the officers’ radar certification training required them to visually estimate vehicle speed within a narrow margin of error; the subsequent open-air search by a drug-sniffing dog did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and his convictions for cocaine and firearms possession are affirmed.

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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 – 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 – Search & Seizure – Voluntary Consent — Kidnapping – Armed Robbery & Sexual Offense – Additional Confinement (access required)

State v. Bell There was a conflict as to whether or not defendant consented at all to the search of his room, but there was no conflict as to whether defendant’s consent was voluntary. The trial court concluded, “The defendant gave Sheriff Jones and Sergeant Weaver valid oral consent to search his room.” In order for the search to have been “valid,” it must have been given voluntarily. Given the lack of any dispute regarding voluntariness, we can infer that the trial court found the consent to be voluntary from its conclusion that defendant gave “valid oral consent.”

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Probable Cause — Traffic Stop – Visual Speed Estimate — Insufficient (access required)

U.S. v. Sowards A deputy’s visual estimate of a driver’s speed – uncorroborated by radar or pacing and unsupported by any other indicia of reliability – did not provide probable cause to stop the driver for driving 75 in a 70-mph zone, and the 4th Circuit says the district court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine discovered in the car after the traffic stop.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Roadside Search – Contraband – Crotch Area (access required)

State v. Robinson Since the police detective had reason to believe defendant was concealing contraband in his crotch area, the detective did not violate defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when the detective moved defendant to a shielded area and had him pull his pants away from his waist and pull his buttocks apart.

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