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State v. Augustin

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

February 19, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
REINE STRUDDY AUGUSTIN, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 October 2018.

          Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 7 December 2017 by Judge Anna M. Wagoner in Rowan County, Nos. 16CRS50373, 17CRS702170 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Lawton III, for the State.

          Irons & Irons, PA., by Ben G. Irons, II, for the Defendant.

          DILLON, JUDGE

         Defendant Reine Struddy Augustin appeals from the trial court's judgment following his guilty plea for carrying a concealed handgun. Defendant challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the gun. We find no error.

         I. Background

         The arresting officer discovered Defendant carrying a concealed handgun during a stop. Defendant moved to suppress the discovery of the gun, contending that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to seize Defendant. The findings the trial court made based on the evidence presented at the suppression hearing tended to show as follows:

         On 22 January 2016 at 1:37 a.m., the arresting officer was patrolling a high-crime area in Salisbury when he saw Defendant and Ariel Peterson walking together on a sidewalk. It was snowing, and the officer had not seen anyone else out on the roads. The officer stopped his car and approached the two men. Though he was not investigating anything at the time, the officer was aware of multiple recent crimes in the area. The officer had prior interactions with Defendant and knew Defendant lived some distance away.[1]

         The officer asked Defendant and Mr. Peterson their names. Initially, Mr. Peterson gave a false name. Defendant did not.

         The officer asked Defendant and Mr. Peterson where they were coming from and where they were going. Both Mr. Peterson and Defendant gave vague answers. Specifically, though both claimed that they had been at the house of Mr. Peterson's girlfriend and were walking back to Defendant's home, they were unable or unwilling to provide the location where Mr. Peterson's girlfriend lived.

         Defendant then asked the officer for a ride to his house. The officer agreed, and the three walked to the rear passenger door of the patrol car. The officer then informed Defendant and Mr. Peterson that police procedure required him to search them prior to allowing them in the patrol car. Up to this point, Defendant had been polite, cooperative, and courteous.

         As the officer began to frisk Mr. Peterson, Mr. Peterson turned and quickly ran away. The officer turned to Defendant, who had begun taking steps away from the officer. The officer believed that Defendant was about to run away as well, so he grabbed Defendant's shoulders, placed Defendant face-down on the ground, and handcuffed him. As the officer rolled Defendant over to ...


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