Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NC Court of Appeals Criminal Decisions, June 18, 2013

State v. Coleman. Appeal of DWI. -- Wake County, Rudolph Coleman.

911 caller said there was a gold Toyota parked at the Kangaroo gas station with a beer in it with a specific license plate. Officers responded and pulled over the defendant in a matching car. Defendant was impaired.

Held: No articulable reasonable suspicion for the tip, as possession of a container of alcohol in a parking lot is not a reliable assertion of illegality.  For tip to provide reasonable suspicion, it must reliably identify the defendant AND reliably assert illegality. There's nothing illegal about having an open beer in a car in a parking lot.

The police officer's mistaken belief that it was illegal to have an open container in a car in a parking lot was not objectively reasonable and doesn't allow the stop, under the recent Heien case (adopting rule that objectively reasonable, but mistaken belief of law violation can give rise to reasonable suspicion permitting a stop).

State v. Dial. Appeal of possession of firearm by felon. -- Chatham County, Paul Dial.

Held: Where defendant took an unusually long time (5-10 minutes) to answer the door at his residence when police were there serving an order for arrest, weapons were known to be in the residence, and then came out of his front door with his hands up but not following directions (deputies knocked him to the grown) --> this gave deputies cause to conduct a sweep of the residence to look for an "individual posing a danger to the deputies," thus making the search legal (when they found some guns). The highlight of this case is the deputy testimony that the open door created a "fatal funnel" that would provide this supposed assailant a clear shot at the deputies.

What a bunch of crap. Why would this guy taking a long time and acting like a jerk give reasonable suspicion that some other person is inside and is armed and dangerous?

State v. Garcia. Appeal of 2d murder conviction. -- Mecklenburg County, Victor Garcia.

Defendant challenges admission of law enforcement statements during his interrogations, where the detectives said they didn't believe him, that he was going to look like a monster if he didn't explain the killing, and that the victim was afraid of the Defendant, as plain error.

Held that this was allowed as providing "context" for the interview.

State v. Howard. Appeal of possession of firearm by felon. -- Cabarrus County, Mason Howard.

Defendant, during traffic stop, was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Police brought drug-sniffing dogs and then found drugs and guns.

First, no error in admitting another officer's testimony that defendant, on a previous occassion, fled from that officer and threw a gun in some bushes. Defendant didn't preserve the issue under 404(b), because counsel initially said he was moving under 404(b), but then the Court asked if he was objecting under 403 and counsel said yes. Then appellate counsel only argued under 404(b).

Appeal dismissed.

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