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North Carolina v. Windham

Filed: June 1, 1982.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
DONNA FAYE WINDHAM



Appeal by defendant from DeRamus, Judge. Judgment entered 24 April 1981 in Superior Court, Richmond County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 3 February 1982.

Morris, Chief Judge. Judges Vaughn and Martin (Harry C.) concur.

Morris

Defendant's sole contention is that the search warrant pursuant to which the contraband was seized was invalid. She argues, therefore, that the court erred in denying her motion to suppress and in entering the judgment against her. Both defendant and the state agree that the legality of the warrant depends

upon whether the affidavit supporting the search warrant was sufficient for the magistrate to find probable cause to search.

Special Agent Kenneth Ray Snead of the State Bureau of Investigation, applying for the warrant, swore to the following facts:

A reliable confidential informant stated on 1-14-81 that Donna Windham and a white male live in the house described in this Warrant. The reliable informant further stated that Donna Windham and the white male does in fact possess and sell marihuana and other drugs and have been doing so for several months. Informant stated that on numerous occasions he has purchased, bought, marihuana and other drugs at the house on Roberdel Road from Donna Windham. The reliable informant further stated to this applicant that he had contact with Donna Windham in the past twenty-four hours and she does in fact have at this time marihuana and other drugs at her house. The informant said that Windham normally keeps the drugs in her kitchen or bedroom The informant has been proven reliable in the past and has provided information to applicant that has resulted in arrest and conviction of persons selling drugs. The informant has supplied this information on at least ten occasions that led to arrests and convictions.

An affidavit is generally deemed sufficient "if it supplies reasonable cause to believe that the proposed search for evidence of the commission of the designated criminal offense will reveal the presence upon the described premises of the objects sought and that they will aid in the apprehension or conviction of the offender." State v. Vestal, 278 N.C. 561, 576, 180 S.E.2d 755, 765 (1971), cert. denied 414 U.S. 874, 38 L. Ed. 2d 114, 94 S. Ct. 157 (1973). Magistrate O. Brown Smith found probable cause and authorized a search on 15 January 1981.

A voir dire hearing was conducted at which Agent Snead testified that he had prepared the affidavit and warrant before submitting them to the magistrate. He said that the magistrate acted purely upon the information set forth in the application. Agent Snead also revealed that his informant had provided information resulting in numerous arrests in the past but that his information had proved to be incorrect on at least one occasion. The

court found that the application for the warrant did, on its face, provide a sufficient basis for the magistrate to find probable cause.

Because the information supplied in the supporting affidavit was obtained from a confidential informant, it was necessary that the magistrate be apprised of some of the underlying circumstances from which the informant concluded that the drugs were where he claimed they were, and from which Agent Snead concluded that the informant was credible or his information reliable. State v. Hayes, 291 N.C. 293, 230 S.E.2d 146 (1976). We hold that the supporting affidavit contains enough facts to meet the requirements of Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, ...


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