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State v. Parisi

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

June 5, 2018

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JEFFREY ROBERT PARISI

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 1 May 2018.

          Appeal by the State from orders entered 13 January 2016 by Judge Michael D. Duncan in Wilkes County No. 14 CRS 50858 Superior Court and 11 March 2016 by Judge Robert J. Crumpton in Wilkes County District Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General John W. Congleton, for the State.

          Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Michele A. Goldman, for defendant-appellee.

          CALABRIA, Judge.

         Where the State presented sufficient evidence that a law enforcement officer had probable cause to stop defendant, the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion to suppress the stop. We reverse and remand.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On 1 April 2014, Jeffrey Parisi ("defendant") was cited for driving while impaired by Officer Gregory Anderson ("Officer Anderson") of the Wilkesboro Police Department. At a 17 June 2015 hearing in Wilkes County District Court, defendant made an oral pretrial motion to suppress the stop that resulted in the citation, alleging a lack of probable cause, and a motion to dismiss. The district court granted defendant's motions, and the State provided oral and written notice of appeal. The court subsequently entered its written "Preliminary Order of Dismissal" ("the Preliminary Order"), which, despite its caption, only granted defendant's motion to suppress. Again, the State provided written notice of appeal.

         The appeal was heard in Wilkes County Superior Court on 13 November 2015. Following the hearing, the court entered an order on 11 January 2016 affirming the decision of the district court to grant defendant's motions ("the Superior Court Order"). The matter was remanded, and on 11 March 2016, the district court entered a "Final Order Granting Motion to Suppress and Motion to Dismiss" ("the Final Order"), granting defendant's motions. The State once more appealed to superior court. On 6 April 2016, the superior court affirmed the Final Order.

         The State appealed the matter to this Court. On 7 February 2017, this Court entered its opinion, dismissing in part, vacating in part, and remanding the matter. State v. Parisi, __ N.C.App. __, __ S.E.2d __, COA16-635 (2017). In this decision, we held that "the superior court erred in its review of the district court's preliminary determination to suppress, when it remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss the case." We further held, however, that the State had no right to appeal the district court's final order granting defendant's motion to suppress, which remained undisturbed. We noted that the suppression of the stop did not mandate the dismissal of the case, vacated the orders of dismissal, and remanded for further proceedings.

         On 28 July 2017, the State filed a petition for writ of certiorari, seeking this Court's review of the Superior Court Order and the Final Order. We granted this petition on 16 August 2017.

         II. Motion to Suppress

         In its sole argument on appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred in concluding that Officer Anderson lacked probable cause to stop defendant, and in granting defendant's motion to suppress. We agree.

         A. ...


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