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Tag Archives: search & seizure

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion – 65 Lbs. of Marijuana (access required)

State v. Williams Given the driver’s inability to articulate where she was coming from or going to, the conflict in the defendant-passenger’s and the driver’s stories of being family, an absent third party’s ownership of the SUV, and defendant’s and the driver’s consistency with aspects of the drug courier profile (such as the SUV’s dark tinted windows and the use of an interstate highway), a sheriff’s deputy had a reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify a search of the SUV.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Search Incident to Arrest – Constitutional – Effective Assistance of Counsel (access required)

State v. Jones Where, despite struggling with and even trying to hit the arresting officer, defendant refused to remove his hand from his jacket pocket, this behavior led the officer to believe defendant might be armed. After defendant was arrested, the officer walked about 10 feet, retrieved the jacket from the ground, searched it and retrieved a bag of crack cocaine. Defense counsel’s failure to move to suppress the crack was not prejudicial because the search of the jacket was a lawful search incident to defendant’s arrest.

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Criminal Practice – DWI – Search & Seizure – ‘Investigatory Stop’ – Potential Stranded Motorist Situation (access required)

State v. Squires When a state trooper saw a pickup truck on the side of the road after midnight and stopped to see if any assistance was needed, he was not required to leave after a person outside the truck told him everything was okay. The trooper did not impermissibly extend the stop when he checked on the driver of the vehicle.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Consent – Involuntary – Exit Blocked (access required)

U.S. v. Jones (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-01-0516, 19 pp.) (Motz, J.) No. 11-4268, May 10, 2012; USDC at Richmond, Va. (Payne, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: Police in a high-crime area who followed a car with four African-American occupants and out-of-state tags onto private property and blocked the car’s exit, then questioned the driver and asked him to lift his shirt and consent to a pat-down, violated the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights, and the 4th Circuit reverses the district court’s refusal to suppress a firearm and marijuana found by police.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – ‘Protective Sweep’ – Gun Seizure (access required)

U.S. v. Laudermilt Police responding to four quick 911 “domestic” calls relating to a couple they knew did not exceed defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when, after arresting defendant and making a protective sweep to locate defendant’s 14-year-old autistic brother, they asked the brother where the reported gun was and he pointed to a rifle in a gun rack; the 4th Circuit reverses the district court order suppressing the firearm.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Warrantless Search – Passenger’s Marijuana Pipe (access required)

State v. Watkins Even if defendant’s unsignaled lane change was not sufficient to justify a traffic stop, the lane change in combination with an anonymous tip (that a purple car would be transporting drugs in the area) and defendant’s other activities were sufficient to give an experienced law enforcement officer reasonable suspicion that some illegal activity was taking place: defendant’s slow speed while driving in the passing lane, his frequent glances in his rearview mirrors, his repeated glances over his shoulder, and the fact that he was driving a car registered to another person.

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Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Tort/Negligence – Trespass & Assault — Bail Bondsman – No Qualified Immunity (access required)

Gregg v. Ham A bail bondsman pursuing a fugitive in his home neighborhood must pay $100,000 to a disabled woman whose home the bondsman surveilled and searched; the 4th Circuit says the bail bondsman is not entitled to qualified immunity from the woman’s § 1983 claim and the district court did not err in submitting the immunity issue to the jury.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Prior Bad Acts – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop (access required)

U.S. v. McBride Police had a reasonable articulable suspicion to detain defendant’s truck after a traffic stop, based on an experienced officer’s observations of defendant’s contacts with others at the site of a club known for drug activity, but the trial court erred reversibly in admitting prior “bad act” evidence, the 4th Circuit says.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Ineffective Assistance Claim – MAR – Evidentiary Hearing – Search & Seizure – Supporting Affidavit (access required)

State v. Jackson Defendant’s trial counsel moved to suppress evidence found in a search of the apartment where defendant was living, but counsel neglected to attach to the suppression motion the affidavit required by G.S. § 15A-977(a); furthermore, counsel failed to make a showing that defendant had standing to challenge the search. The trial court should have given defendant’s motion for appropriate relief more than summary consideration.

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