Appeal by defendant from Clark, Judge. Judgment entered 7 April 1981 in Superior Court, Cumberland County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 12 November 1981.
Hill, Judge. Judges Vaughn and Whichard concur.
Officer Ronnie Purdie testified for the State at the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Defendant presented no evidence. The officer testified that he saw the defendant driving an automobile at about 1:10 a.m. on 20 January 1981; that he knew there was an outstanding order for defendant's arrest because he had checked the warrant file on 19 January 1981; that he turned on his blue light and defendant stopped his car and got out; that he stated that he was going to arrest defendant and he had defendant put his hands on the car for a search; that during the search "there appeared to be a rumble as if he was going to come off the car at that time [and] . . . he threw his right hand out to his side, his front;" that an aspirin box and a cigarette lighter hit the ground about three or four feet away from defendant; that another officer picked up these items and the two officers opened the aspirin box; and that they found three or four packets of a white powder inside, identified as heroin. The trial judge found the facts "to be as testified to by Officer Ronnie Purdie" and concluded that defendant had been lawfully arrested, that defendant had voluntarily discarded the aspirin box by throwing it away and no longer had any reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to it, and that the suspicious and furtive conduct of defendant and the appearance of the items inside the box had given probable cause for seizure of the items.
Defendant first argues that his arrest was unlawful. He argues that G.S. 15A-401(e)(1), which deals with entry into private premises or vehicles for the purpose of effecting an arrest, is applicable and that this statute does not allow an arrest unless an officer has a warrant or order for arrest in his possession. The
simple answer to defendant's argument is that G.S. 15A-401(e)(1) does not apply since Office Purdie did not enter defendant's vehicle in order to effect the arrest. The officer testified that defendant "stopped his car and got out;" there was no evidence to the contrary. Even if the arrest had not been lawful, it would not follow that the evidence discovered would have to be suppressed. See State v. Eubanks, 283 N.C. 556, 196 S.E.2d 706 (1973); State v. Sutton, 34 N.C. App. 371, 238 S.E.2d 305 (1977), disc. rev. denied, 294 N.C. 186, 241 S.E.2d 521 (1978).
Defendant next argues that the trial judge erred in concluding that he discarded the aspirin box. We disagree. The trial judge did not make detailed findings of fact, but such findings were not required since there was no conflict in the evidence at the suppression hearing. State v. Smith, 50 N.C. App. 188, 272 S.E.2d 621 (1980). The trial judge concluded that defendant "voluntarily discarded the aspirin box by throwing the same onto the ground some distance from him; and that the defendant could not have had any reasonable, legitimate expectation of privacy regarding the possession of said item after he discarded the same on a public street." The uncontradicted testimony of Officer Purdie supports this conclusion of law, and we have no basis for overruling it.
The conclusion of law regarding defendant's discarding of the aspirin box amounts to a determination that defendant abandoned it for purposes of the law of search and seizure.
The issue is not abandonment in the strict property-right sense, but whether the person prejudiced by the search had voluntarily discarded, left behind, or otherwise relinquished his interest in the property in question so that he could no longer retain a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to it at the time of the search.
United States v. Colbert, 474 F.2d 174, 176 (5th Cir. 1973).
In City of St. Paul v. Vaughn, 306 Minn. 337, 237 N.W. 2d 365 (1975), police stopped that defendant's automobile on the belief that he was another person whom they knew to be under a driver's license suspension. Defendant got out of his automobile and ran into a nearby business. An officer followed and observed defendant put something underneath a counter. The officer
retrieved the item, an eyeglass case, and found it to contain drug paraphernalia. The Supreme Court of Minnesota upheld the ...