Is North Carolina a Stop and Identify State Now?

In some states, when an officer conducts an investigative stop, the person stopped is legally required to identify himself or herself. For example, Utah Code § 77-7-15 provides that an officer may “may demand the individual’s name, address, date of birth, and an explanation of the individual’s actions.” Stop and identify statutes were generally deemed constitutional in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 542 U.S. 177 (2004), but North Carolina has never adopted one. Did a recent decision by the Court of Appeals turn North Carolina into a “stop and identify” state anyhow?

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Lawful Gun Possession and Encounters with Police

During a Terry stop, an officer who has reasonable suspicion that a suspect is armed and dangerous may frisk the suspect and may confiscate any weapons that the officer finds. Does an officer have the same authority during a traffic stop? In other words, if an officer reasonably suspects that a driver is in possession of a gun, even lawfully, may the officer confiscate the gun for the duration of the stop as a safety precaution? What about during a consensual encounter between an officer and a pedestrian?

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When Reasonable Suspicion Is Dispelled

A traffic stop is valid if it is supported by reasonable suspicion. During a valid traffic stop, an officer may demand the driver’s license and registration, may run a computer check based on those documents, and so on. But what if the reasonable suspicion supporting the stop dissipates soon after the stop is made?

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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

The Fourth Circuit Chastises the Government

The Fourth Circuit recently decided a very interesting case with a lot of North Carolina connections. The case is United States v. Foster, and it’s available here. The facts were as follows. A police officer in Henderson, North Carolina was eating lunch at a restaurant with his wife. As he left the restaurant, he saw … Read more

Are Terry Stops “Custodial” for Miranda Purposes?

I used to answer this question “no.” But even though the United States Supreme Court recently said exactly that, see Maryland v. Shatzer, __ U.S. __, 130 S. Ct. 1213 (2010) (“[T]he temporary and relatively nonthreatening detention involved in a traffic stop or Terry stop does not constitute Miranda custody.”), I think the correct answer … Read more