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State v. Peters

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 5, 2017

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA,
v.
CHESSICA PETERS, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 8 June 2017.

         Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 2 September 2016 by Judge Julia Lynn Gullett in Cabarrus County Superior Court Cabarrus County, Nos. 15CRS053091-92; 15CRS001404

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Durwin P. Jones, for the State.

          The Epstein Law Firm PLLC, by Drew Nelson, for defendant-appellant.

          BERGER, Judge.

         Chessica Peters ("Defendant") appeals from judgment entered following her conviction for attempting to obtain property by false pretense, possessing or displaying an altered North Carolina driver's license, and delaying a public officer in the discharge of his duties. Defendant was sentenced as an habitual felon to 95 to 126 months in prison.

         Defendant has only challenged her conviction for the Class 2 misdemeanor of delaying a public officer in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-223 (2015). Specifically, Defendant contends the trial court erred by denying her motion to dismiss when the State failed to introduce sufficient evidence that she delayed a public officer or intended to delay a public officer. We disagree.

         Factual & Procedural Background

         On June 28, 2015, Larkin Anderson ("Anderson"), a loss prevention officer for Wal-Mart, Inc., Store 1027, ("Wal-Mart") observed a female enter Wal-Mart with two expensive, identical blenders. She approached the customer service counter, returned the two blenders for a refund, purchased two vacuum cleaners and two toys, and then exited the store. After she had loaded her purchased items into her vehicle, she handed Defendant her receipt and drove away.

         Defendant then entered Wal-Mart, selected two vacuums and two toys identical to the ones purchased formerly. She proceeded to Wal-Mart's garden center exit with them, rather than returning to the general entrance through which she originally came. Defendant picked up an additional item and paid cash for it, and presented the cashier with the receipt that was given to Defendant in the parking lot. Defendant then left Wal-Mart through the garden center exit, without paying for the vacuums or the toys.

         Anderson approached Defendant outside the doors of the garden center and confronted her about her apparent theft. Anderson asked Defendant to accompany him to the store's Asset Protection Office, and held her there until a law enforcement officer could arrive to investigate the incident.

         Officer Parker Phillips ("Officer Phillips") of the Concord Police Department reported to the Wal-Mart as the investigating officer. Officer Phillips first attempted to identify Defendant by requesting an identification card ("ID"). Defendant produced a North Carolina ID that she gave to Officer Phillips. He stepped outside of the office, and radioed his dispatch officer asking for information related to the license number on Defendant's ID.

         The dispatch officer reported that the name associated with the given ID number differed from the one listed on the ID. Officer Phillips returned to the office and asked Defendant if the numbers on the ID were correct, and Defendant confirmed that they were. Officer Phillips then asked Defendant if there were any additional numbers, as it appeared the ID had been altered. Defendant replied that there may have been an "8" missing from the end of the ID number. Officer Phillips asked if she was certain there were no other numbers missing, to which Defendant stated, "there's no other numbers, just an 8." Officer Phillips again requested the dispatch officer to check the ID number, now including the "8", and again was given a name that did not match the ID.

         Officer Phillips then asked the dispatch officer to search using Defendant's name and date of birth. This search proved fruitful, and the dispatch officer reported that Defendant's ID number also included a "0". All other information on Defendant's ID - her name, date of birth, race, etc. - was correct. The dispatch officer also reported that Defendant had "a couple outstanding warrants." Officer Phillips then charged Defendant with resisting, delaying, or obstructing a public ...


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