Warrantless Stops 101 — Was the Stop Supported by Reasonable Suspicion?

In my first Warrantless Stops 101 post, I offered these basic questions to frame the analysis:

  1. Did a seizure occur?
  2. If so and it was a stop, was it supported by reasonable suspicion or other valid basis?
  3. If reasonable suspicion supported the stop, was the officer’s subsequent conduct sufficiently limited in scope?
  4. If the seizure was an arrest, was it supported by probable cause?
  5. If the arrest was supported by probable cause, was the search permissible?

My first post focused on whether a seizure occurred. This one looks at whether the stop was supported by reasonable suspicion. If so, the stop itself is constitutional and the only remaining issue is whether the officer’s conduct exceeded the scope of the stop, a topic I’ll take up in a later post.

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Empty Your Pockets

Can a police officer order a suspect to empty his or her pockets during a Terry stop? The New York Times reports on claims that New York officers do so regularly: Critics say that as part of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, officers routinely tell suspects to empty their pockets and then, if marijuana is … Read more

The Confidential Spousal Communication Privilege

It is hornbook law that “[a] confidential communication between husband and wife is privileged and neither spouse may be compelled to disclose it when testifying as a witness.” 1 Kenneth S. Broun, Brandis & Broun on North Carolina Evidence 419 (6th ed. 2004). See also G.S. 8-57(c). Just today, the court of  appeals decided a case … 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

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

I did a little research yesterday morning about running from the police. It started when, in connection with a presentation for which I was preparing, I reviewed State v. Mewborn, __ N.C. App. __, 684 S.E.2d 535 (2009). Mewborn arose in Kinston. Officers were “patrolling a high crime neighborhood” and specifically, were “approaching and questioning … Read more

Terry Frisk During a Consensual Encounter?

Note about holiday blogging schedule: Because I am certain that all of you are planning your holidays around this blog, I thought I’d mention that I’ll continue to post daily through the holidays, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Today’s post: The North Carolina Supreme Court recently … Read more