Confessions and Custody

The Court of Appeals decided two Miranda cases last week: In re J.D.B, available here, and State v. Rooks, available here. The former is a very close juvenile case that produced three separate opinions. I’ll save my thoughts about it for after we hear from the Supreme Court of North Carolina. But there’s an argument … Read more

Field Sobriety Tests During Traffic Stops

Several recent inquiries have been variants of the following question: can an officer administer field sobriety tests during a routine traffic stop? In other words, if an officer has reasonable suspicion that a driver has committed a traffic violation, and has a hunch, not rising to the level of reasonable suspicion, that the driver is … Read more

Lineups, Showups, Undercover Buys, and G.S. 15A-284.52

In 2007, the General Assembly enacted the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act, G.S. 15A-284.50 et seq.  The heart of the Act is G.S. 15A-284.52, which lays out rules for conducting lineups, whether live, i.e., involving the actual suspect and several other fillers, or by photo array, i.e., involving a picture of the suspect and several other … Read more

Knowing and Voluntary Miranda Waivers

The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, recently decided a very interesting Miranda case. Garner v. Mitchell, available here, is a capital case.  The defendant stole a woman’s purse, took a taxi to her house, robbed it, and set it on fire to conceal his fingerprints, killing five of the six children who were sleeping in … Read more

Recording Interrogations

A couple of sessions ago, the General Assembly enacted G.S. 15A-211, which requires that custodial interrogations in homicide cases be recorded. The idea is to “eliminate disputes about interrogations,” id., and particularly, to prevent and record any coercion by law enforcement that might result in a false confession, and to prevent false claims of coercion. … Read more