North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Search of Vehicle Located on Premises as Within Scope of Search Warrant

The North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Lowe (December 21, 2016) ruled that a search warrant validly authorized a search of a vehicle parked on the driveway of the premises and within its curtilage, and it reversed a contrary ruling by the Court of Appeals (State v. Lowe, 774 S.E.2d 893, 21 July 2015). This post discusses the supreme court’s ruling.

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Understanding Whether a Seizure Occurs When an Officer’s Vehicle Blocks Another Vehicle

In California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621 (1991), the United States Supreme Court reformulated the definition of a seizure of a person under the Fourth Amendment. This post discusses this case and its application to a particular issue: whether an officer’s blocking another vehicle with the officer’s vehicle is a seizure of the vehicle occupants.

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The Fuel Efficiency of Law Enforcement Vehicles

I live in Durham, where the ELF is built. The ELF is a pedal-and-electric-powered reverse tricycle with an egg-shaped body and a solar panel roof. It is certainly unique. A 360-degree view is available here. Organic Transit, the company that builds the ELF, states that it “gets the equivalent of 1800 m.p.g.”

What does this have to do with criminal law? Well, the company recently introduced the Tactical ELF, designed to “give[] [law enforcement agencies] the tactical advantage for community policing.” An endorsement from Duke’s campus police comments that “It’s like a small patrol car.” I doubt that the ELF is going to be a mainstream law enforcement vehicle anytime soon, but it did get me thinking about the fuel efficiency of law enforcement vehicles generally. This post summarizes what I learned.

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My Girlfriend’s AK-47

The court of appeals just reversed a defendant’s conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It’s a case with interesting facts that raises questions about whether the owner or the driver of a vehicle is responsible for its contents. State v. Bailey began when two Roxboro officers heard several gunshots at an … Read more


A Horse Is a Horse, of Course. But Is It Also a Vehicle?

Horses are vehicles, according to our state court of appeals. In State v. Dellinger, 73 N.C. App. 685 (1985), the court upheld the defendant’s conviction for impaired driving based upon his riding of a horse on a street with an alcohol concentration of 0.18. The court reasoned:  G.S. 20-171 renders traffic laws applicable to persons … Read more