News Roundup

Several grand juries have recently considered whether to charge white police officers with killing black men. We’ve already discussed the case in Ferguson, Missouri on this blog. Wednesday, a Staten Island, New York grand jury declined to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The New York Times has the story here. … Read more

News Roundup

My favorite story this week concerns the alleged criminal mastermind who was charged with trying to steal copper . . . “from a construction site where the Garner Police Department is building a new station.” WRAL has the story here. We’ll see if he cops a plea to copping the cops’ copper. In other news: … Read more

How Should the Police Respond to a Report of a Man with a Gun?

Case study: the Neenah stop. Recently in Neenah, WI, a woman called the police to report a man with a gun strapped to his back walking down the street. The call was placed to the non-emergency police number and the caller didn’t report that the man was doing anything threatening, but she did suggest that … Read more

News Roundup

What an interesting week! The sports world was fascinating, between a dramatic World Cup win for the United States, a Raleigh native being picked first in the NBA draft, and a Greensboro native winning the longest tennis match ever played. But the legal world was pretty interesting, too: 1. The United States Supreme Court decided … Read more

Criminal Law Faculty Position Now Available

Have you ever thought that it would be interesting to be a member of the School’s faculty? To write, teach, and consult about criminal law and procedure? And to do so with a focus on applied scholarship that makes a real difference? Then you might be interested in the job described later in this post. … Read more

May An Officer Ask a Business to Execute a Search Warrant on Itself?

Once upon a time, search warrants were simple. An officer would obtain a warrant to search a suspect’s home or some other physical location connected to a crime. The officer would go to the location, announce his or her presence, and conduct the search. But these days, officers frequently want to obtain records and other … Read more


Case Summaries: N.C. Court of Appeals (Dec. 19, 2023, and Jan. 2, 2024)

This post summarizes the published criminal opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on December 19, 2023, and January 2, 2024. These summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to the present.

Can I Take a Look at Your Phone?

Inquisitive police officers regularly ask suspects questions like “Can I take a look at your phone?” or “Can I see your phone?” These on-the-street requests may give rise to legal questions in court. For example, if the suspect hands over the phone in response, does that provide consent for the officer to search the phone? … Read more