We now have a number of appellate opinions interpreting the defensive force statutes enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011. In State v. Kuhns, ___ N.C. App. ___ (July 3, 2018), we have our first opinion squarely addressing the provisions of G.S. 14-51.2, which deals with defensive force in a home, workplace, or motor vehicle. This post focuses on the home, where the conflict in Kuhns occurred, but some of the same principles apply to the workplace and motor vehicles.
An officer sees a motorcycle that he has probable cause to believe is stolen parked in the suspect’s driveway. The motorcycle is partially covered by a tarpaulin. May the officer lawfully walk into the driveway without the permission of the suspect or any other resident and lift the tarp to read the license plate and VIN number on the motorcycle?
The North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Lowe (December 21, 2016) ruled that a search warrant validly authorized a search of a vehicle parked on the driveway of the premises and within its curtilage, and it reversed a contrary ruling by the Court of Appeals (State v. Lowe, 774 S.E.2d 893, 21 July 2015). This post discusses the supreme court’s ruling.
The Fourth Amendment protects the home as well as its curtilage, which is defined as the area immediately surrounding the home and associated with it. Recently, the North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Grice, 2015 WL 304075 (Jan. 23, 2015), was confronted with a Fourth Amendment issue involving the curtilage. The court held, reversing the court of appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 733 S.E.2d 354 (2012), that officers who were validly on the curtilage of a residence to conduct a knock and talk did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they saw marijuana plants 15 yards away on the curtilage and warrantlessly seized them.
Kathy Taft was bludgeoned and raped on March 5, 2010, as she lay in the bedroom of a friends’ home in Raleigh recovering from surgery. She died four days later. Raleigh police tracked down her killer, Jason Williford, through what then-police chief Harry Dolan called “gumshoe detective work”: They collected and tested trash discarded by neighborhood men who refused to provide samples of their DNA.
The court of appeals just decided a case that’s important for officers, as well as lawyers and judges, to know about. The case is State v. Pasour, and it began when officers received a call “that a subject living at [a specific address] had marijuana plants growing with his tomato plants.” The officers decided to … Read more
I blogged previously about whether the concept of curtilage applies to multi-unit dwellings like duplexes and apartment buildings. It’s an interesting question, and the cases summarized in the prior post show that the courts aren’t in complete agreement on the issue. I recently had a question on point, and one of the clipping services I … Read more
The curtilage of a home is the area “directly and intimately connected with the [home] and in proximity” to it. State v. Courtright, 60 N.C. App. 247 (1983). In other words, it is the area that “harbors the intimate activity associated with the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” United States … Read more