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North Carolina v. Rankin

Filed: December 1, 1981.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JOHN EDGAR RANKIN



Appeal by defendant from Rousseau, J., 19 January 1981 Criminal Session of Greensboro Division of Guilford Superior Court.

Britt, Justice.

Britt

Defendant contends first that the trial court committed prejudicial error in overruling his objections to two questions asked a witness by the prosecuting attorney. This contention has no merit.

Police Officer A. R. Wood testified with respect to the blue and white Buick allegedly owned and operated by defendant on the night in question. After stating that he observed said automobile on that night, the officer was asked:

"And did you note the license plate at that time, Officer Wood?"

Defendant's objection was overruled and the witness gave an affirmative answer. The witness was then asked:

"Would you please look to see if you can find the license number of the vehicle you saw on that date and time and at that location?"

Defendant's objection was overruled and the witness stated that the license number was TEC-598.

Defendant argues that the questions were leading and, therefore, were prejudicial to him. We disagree. It is doubtful that the second question can be classified as "leading". Even so, in the context of this case, we find neither question improper.

In State v. Greene, 285 N.C. 482, 206 S.E.2d 229 (1974), Justice (now Chief Justice) Branch, speaking for this court, said:

"The trial judge in ruling on leading questions is aided by certain guidelines which have evolved over the years to the effect that counsel should be allowed to lead his witness on direct examination when . . . (7) the examiner directs attention to the subject matter at hand without suggesting answers and ...


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