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Tag Archives: search & seizure

Criminal Practice – Dismissal – Search & Seizure – Motion to Suppress (access required)

State v. Joe After the trial court granted defendant’s motions to dismiss the charge of resisting a public officer and to suppress evidence seized in his post-arrest search, the state announced to the trial court that it “would be unable to proceed with the case in chief” on the remaining charges of cocaine possession and attainment of habitual felon status. We do not agree with our Court of Appeals that the prosecutor’s statements amounted to a dismissal in open court; furthermore, the trial court had no authority to enter an order dismissing the remaining charges on its own motion.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Seatbelt Violation – Further Detention – Drug Dog (access required)

State v. Fisher Defendant’s seatbelt violation justified a traffic stop. A further 20- to 25-minute detention – awaiting a canine unit -- was justified by defendant’s nervousness, inconsistency with regard to his travel plans, driving a car not registered to him, and the strong smell of air freshener, in addition to otherwise “innocent” behavior such as defendant’s driving in the flow of traffic, a hand print on the otherwise dirty trunk, and a fast food bag (indicating defendant did not want to leave the car unattended). The arresting officer was further justified in continuing the detention when he learned that defendant had pending drug charges in another county.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Vehicle Search — Consent (access required)

U.S. v. Ortiz The 4th Circuit offers a refresher course in assessing “probable cause” and reverses a district court order suppressing drugs found in a secret compartment of defendant’s car because the district court applied the wrong standards for determining whether police had defendant’s consent to search the vehicle and whether there was probable cause to search it.

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Criminal Practice – Accessory After the Fact of Murder – Hiding Gun – Search & Seizure – Consent to Search (access required)

State v. Schiro Defendant consented to a police search of his car, but when officers began looking behind the rear quarter panels, defendant complained, “Man, they’re tearing up my trunk.” A reasonable person would not have considered defendant’s statements that the officers were “tearing up” his car to be an unequivocal revocation of his consent.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Search & Seizure – Anonymous Tip – Defendant’s Flight – Inculpatory Statements (access required)

State v. Hemphill When Officer Adkins arrived at Auto America, he saw defendant, who generally matched the description of one of the individuals reported by an anonymous caller, peering from behind a van parked at Auto America. When defendant spotted Officer Adkins, defendant ran away from him. Defendant ignored Officer Adkins when he shouted for defendant to stop, and Officer Adkins ran after defendant for about an eighth of a mile. When Officer Adkins caught up with defendant, defendant was attempting to hide behind a dumpster. When considered together and in context, these facts were sufficient to raise a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot, and that defendant was involved.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion – 30-Day Tag – Low Number (access required)

State v. Burke Where our Court of Appeals held, An officer believed that the number on defendant’s 30-day tag was lower than those being issued at that time; the officer’s belief did not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion needed to make a traffic stop, we affirm the Court of Appeals’ reversal of the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Warrantless Vehicle Search – Post-Arrest – Carrying a Concealed Weapon – Evidence of Offense (access required)

State v. Mbacke Arresting officers had reason to believe they would find evidence of the offense for which they arrested defendant - carrying a concealed weapon - in the vehicle where the officers found him; therefore, the officers could conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Tinted Windows – Reasonable Suspicion (access required)

State v. Davis Even though there was conflicting evidence as to whether defendant’s car windows were tinted legally, and even though the state voluntarily dismissed the citation for illegally tinted windows, the darkness of the window tint gave the arresting office a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.

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