Suppose a superior court judge issues a search warrant authorizing the search of a suspect’s house for drugs. Officers execute the warrant, find drugs, seize them, and charge the suspect with drug offenses. The charges end up in superior court, where the suspect – now the defendant – moves to suppress, arguing that the search warrant application lacked probable cause and that the judge who issued the warrant erred in doing so. Is it OK for the judge who issued the warrant to hear such a motion?
If you decide to read yesterday’s court of appeals opinion in State v. Miller, ___ N.C. App. ___ (May 17, 2016) do yourself a favor and skip to page 9. Not having the benefit of this advice, I got lost on page 3. At first, I thought my printer had malfunctioned, since page 3 seemed to be saying the same thing as page 2. But there’s no problem with my printer. I can’t say the same for the procedural history in this case. Tortured is not a sufficiently negative adjective to describe its path. Fortunately, things pick up half way through the opinion and an important rule emerges: The State may obtain a de novo hearing in superior court under G.S. 20-38.7(a) without setting forth the specific findings of fact to which it objects.
So that’s the rule. Unless the senior resident superior court judge says otherwise. You’re going to have to read the rest of this post to make sense of that.
You represent a defendant charged with DWI. You move to suppress evidence in district court. The district court enters a preliminary determination in your favor. The State appeals. The superior court disagrees with the district court and remands the case with instructions to deny your motion. Your client pleads guilty. You appeal to superior court. You want the court of appeals to consider the merits of your motion. What should you do to preserve that right?
Regular and well-publicized checkpoints are an important component of the State’s effort to curtail impaired driving. Checkpoints provide specific as well as general deterrence. A handful of impaired drivers typically are arrested at any given checking station and subsequently prosecuted for impaired driving. Many more drivers than are stopped hear about the checkpoint. That publicity … Read more
Local law enforcement officers have a little bit of extra territorial jurisdiction when it comes to investigating impaired driving. That grant of extra territorial jurisdiction (as opposed to extraterritorial jurisdiction, which city officers already had) was created by the Motor Vehicle Driver Protection Act of 2006 and codified in G.S. 20-38.2. General Rules. G.S. 15A-402 … Read more
The court of appeals decided its first post-Missouri v. McNeely alcohol exigency case yesterday. The court in State v. Dahlquist determined that the four to five hours that the arresting officer estimated would have elapsed had he first traveled to the intake center at the jail to obtain a search warrant and then taken the … Read more
The State’s failure to accord a defendant his or her statutory implied consent rights as set forth in G.S. 20-16.2 may render the results of any ensuing breath test inadmissible. When a defendant moves to suppress breath test results based on such a violation, questions frequently arise regarding whether the State bears the burden of demonstrating compliance … Read more