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North Carolina v. Roseboro

Filed: December 15, 1981.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
LOUIS C. ROSEBORO



Appeal by defendant from Braswell, Judge. Judgments entered 19 January 1981 in Superior Court, Durham County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 10 November 1981.

Hill, Judge. Judges Vaughn and Whichard concur.

Hill

Before the trial of this case, defendant made a motion that the State be ordered to disclose the identity of a confidential informer whose information led to the issuance of the search warrant for 705 Bacon Street. That motion was denied, and defendant now argues that the trial court's action violated his constitutional right to confront witnesses against him. We do not agree.

In Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53, 77 S. Ct. 623, 1 L. Ed. 2d 639 (1957), the Supreme Court dealt with the question of revealing the name of an informer where petitioner had been charged with the sale of heroin to "John Doe," and the government refused to disclose John Doe's true identity. In reversing petitioner's conviction, the Court stated:

We believe that no fixed rule with respect to disclosure

We believe that no fixed rule with respect to disclosure is justifiable. The problem is one that calls for balancing the public interest in protecting the flow of information against the individual's right to prepare his defense. Whether a proper balance renders nondisclosure erroneous must depend on balance renders nondisclosure erroneous must depend on the particular circumstances of each case, taking into consideration the crime charged, the possible defenses, the possible significance of the informer's testimony, and ther relevant factors.

Id. at 62, 77 S. Ct. at 628-29, 1 L. Ed. 2d at 646. The Roviaro court held that disclosure is required when the informer participated in the alleged crime and, as a material witness, might have been helpful to the defense. The opinions of our courts have reflected the requirement that, where an informer participates in the alleged

crime, the State must disclose the identity of the informer. See e.g., State v. Hodges, 51 N.C. App. 229, 275 S.E.2d 533 (1981).

In the instant case, the information provided by the confidential informer had no connection with the crimes with which defendant was charged. The informer's information provided the basis for the search warrant, but his allegation that he had purchased drugs from someone, possibly defendant, at 705 Bacon Street, was not introduced as evidence at the trial. That information was not, therefore, the basis of defendant's conviction. Simply put, the informer did not, as defendant argues, participate in the drug activities with which defendant was charged. We do not find that defendant could have used the informer to counter the case made out against defendant by the State. The trial court correctly denied defendant's motion to disclose the informer's identity.

Defendant also assigns as error the trial court's denial of his motion for a directed verdict. He contends that the State failed to present sufficient evidence of defendant's possession of the two drugs, his intent to sell, or his manufacture of the drugs. We find that the State did present sufficient evidence on all charges and that the court did not err in denying defendant's motion for a directed verdict.

In State v. Harvey, 281 N.C. 1, 12-13, 187 S.E.2d 706, 714 (1972), the Supreme Court discussed the question of possession of narcotics:

An accused's possession of narcotics may be actual or constructive. He has possession of the contraband material within the meaning of the law when he has both the power and intent to control its disposition or use. Where such materials are found on the premises under the control of an accused, this fact, in and of itself, gives rise to an inference of knowledge and possession which may be sufficient to carry the case to the jury on a charge of unlawful possession. Also, the State may overcome a motion to dismiss or motion for judgment as of nonsuit by presenting evidence which places the ...


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