Does a Search Warrant for a Person Authorize a Strip Search?

Most search warrants are for homes or offices. Some are for vehicles. Less often, a search warrant is for a person. See generally G.S. 15A-241 (defining a search warrant as an order authorizing the search of “designated premises, vehicles, or persons”). When a search warrant authorizes the search of a person, how intensive may the search be? Specifically, may the executing officer conduct a strip search?

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Strip Searches by Law Enforcement Officers (Part II)

This blog post is divided in two parts. This is Part II. Part I was posted yesterday. That post offered a general introduction, defined a strip search, and discussed the legality of consent searches involving strip searches. This post discusses the legality of nonconsensual strip searches. As mentioned in Part I, strip searches at jails … Read more

Scope of Consent to Search a Vehicle

Yesterday, I wrote about a pair of recent cases about weaving within a lane of travel. Today, I want to mention another pair of recent cases related to automobiles. Last month, the court of appeals decided, on the same day, two cases that address the scope of a suspect’s consent to search a vehicle. In … Read more

Significant Fourth Circuit Drug Case

Because our appellate courts often find the Fourth Circuit’s opinions to be persuasive authority, I read all the Fourth Circuit’s published criminal cases. Yesterday, the court decided United States v. Johnson, a drug case involving two noteworthy issues. The short version of the facts is as follows: Officers wiretapped a suspected drug dealer’s phone. The … Read more


State v. Johnson and the Retroactivity of Gant

On June 1, 2010, the N.C. Court of Appeals applied Arizona v. Gant in State v. Johnson and held that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the police searched his vehicle incident to his arrest. There is nothing particularly significant about that holding, as it involved a fairly straightforward application of Gant. However, … Read more