Heard in the Court of Appeals: October 22, 2014.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Laura Edwards Parker, for the State.
Leslie Rawls for defendant.
ELMORE, Judge. Judges BRYANT and ERVIN concur.
Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 12 January 2014 by Judge Ronald E. Spivey in Rowan County Superior Court,
Nos. 13 CRS 53450, 13 CRS 2785.
On 1 July 2013, defendant was indicted for failure to register as a sex offender (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.11) and for sex offender residential restriction violation based upon his alleged decision to reside residing within 1,000 feet of a child care center (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.16). On 23 September 2013, defendant was also indicted for habitual felon status. Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion in limine to exclude GPS data obtained from defendant's satellite-based monitoring system. On 16 January 2014, defendant was found guilty of both charges. He subsequently admitted his habitual felon status. Defendant was sentenced as a prior record level IV offender with 12 prior record level points in the presumptive range to a minimum of 88 months and maximum of 118 months imprisonment.
On appeal, defendant contends that he was denied his right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him and denied his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. After careful consideration, we conclude that defendant received a trial free from error.
The facts of this case are undisputed: On 21 March 2012, defendant was released from the North Carolina Department of Corrections into the custody of probation officer Josh Barrier (Barrier). Barrier provided defendant with a copy of the post-release conditions. As required, defendant registered his post-release address with the sheriff's department at 930 N. Church Street in Salisbury, his mother's residence. Defendant was assigned a curfew of 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. as part of his supervision. Barrier informed defendant he was confined to his residence during those hours.
Barrier conducted visual curfew checks of defendant two to three times per week to insure defendant's compliance. Defendant was arrested three times for curfew violations, and he was sent to prison for thirty to sixty days on each occasion. As a result of multiple curfew violations, defendant was placed on electronic monitoring on 25 September 2012. The monitoring device tracked defendant's whereabouts and monitored whether he abided by the curfew restrictions and whether he stayed out of exclusion zones.
At trial, the State called Barrier to testify concerning the operation of the electronic monitoring device worn by defendant and the data produced by that device. Barrier explained that the ankle bracelet used GPS and cell phone towers to pinpoint the location of an offender in real time. He stated that the system is monitored twenty-four hours a day and employs the same GPS satellite technology used in phones and cars for navigation. The system logs information including the specific time an offender enters an inclusion zone, which is generally his home address, or when he enters an exclusion zone, which is a prohibited area. Barrier testified that the information transmitted by the bracelet is stored in a secure database and constitutes an accurate and reliable source of information.
On 28 December 2012, defendant asked Barrier if he could move to his girlfriend's residence in Salisbury. Barrier informed defendant that moving to that location would violate the sex offender registry laws as her home was located a block from the Rowan Medical Child Development Center. As an alternative residence, Barrier located a church-run program in Spencer where defendant was permitted to live for free provided he attend church services. Defendant agreed. Defendant registered the church's address with the sheriff's department in early 2013. However, defendant resided at ...