Last week, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina decided State v. Frederick, a case about whether a controlled purchase of drugs provided probable cause to issue a search warrant. Before you say “the answer is yes, that fact pattern happens all the time,” be aware that Frederick presents a wrinkle. The wrinkle is that the controlled buy was conducted not by a confidential informant, but by an unknown “middleman” who the informant drove to the suspect’s home. Does the injection of an intermediary undermine probable cause? Read on to find out!
In addition to contributing to this blog, I publish summaries of N.C. appellate court and U.S. Supreme Court decisions through my Criminal Law Listserv (you can sign up for those emails here). That job involves reading a lot of cases and probably explains why my eyeglass prescription has been getting steadily stronger. But a side … Read more