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State v. Caddell

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 17, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
BOBBY LINDBERG CADDELL

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 21 August 2019.

          Appeal by Defendant from Judgments entered 8 May 2018 by Judge Eric C. Morgan in Forsyth County Superior Court. Nos. 17 CRS 53907-08

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Zachary Padgett, for the State.

          Patrick S. Lineberry, for defendant-appellant.

          HAMPSON, JUDGE.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Bobby Lindberg Caddell (Defendant) appeals from the trial court's Order denying his Motion to Suppress (Motion to Suppress Order), and from Judgments entered on 8 May 2017 after Defendant entered Alford[1] pleas for one count of Felonious Trafficking in Opium/Heroin, two counts of Felonious Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule II Substance, three counts of Felonious Maintaining Dwelling Used for Controlled Substances, one count of Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, two counts of Felonious Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule I Substance, and attaining Habitual-Felon status. The Record in this matter shows the following:

         On 26 April 2017, Detective E.M. Branson (Detective Branson) from the Winston-Salem Police Department filed an Application for Search Warrant for 2309 Urban Street (the Residence). In support of the application, Detective Branson attached an Affidavit. The Affidavit set forth the following:

During the month of March 2017, your AFFIANT received information from a confidential source "crack" cocaine, heroin, and marijuana was being sold by a white male they know as Bobby Caddell. Information was received that CADDELL lives and sells "crack" cocaine, heroin, and marijuana from 2309 Urban Street. . . . Your AFFIANT was able to identify Bobby Caddell through the Winston Salem Police PISTOL records.
During the last 72 hours, your AFFIANT met with the confidential reliable and compensated informant in an attempt to purchase "crack" cocaine from CADDELL. . . . The informant was provided with U.S. Currency from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) buy fund and instructed to go directly to 2309 Urban Street to purchase "crack" cocaine from CADDELL. . . . The informant was observed making contact with CADDELL in the front yard of the residence. A short time later, the informant was observed exiting the front door of the residence followed by CADDELL. The informant responded to the predetermined location. The informant produced a quantity of "crack" cocaine that they advised they purchased from CADDELL inside of 2309 Urban Street. . . . The substance was subjected to a preliminary field test and showed a positive reaction to the schedule II controlled substance cocaine.
The confidential informant who was used to make the controlled buys is of proven reliability. The informant has provided information in the past that has led to the seizure of narcotics. The informant has never mislead or provided false information in the past.
Your AFFIANT, Detective E. M. Branson, has been a Police Officer with the Winston-Salem, North Carolina Police Department for over sixteen (16) years and has been assigned to the Special Investigations Division for approximately 5 years. Your AFFIANT has received approximately 200 hours of specialized training in the identification and investigation of narcotics. Furthermore, your AFFIANT has made in excess of 150 arrests for narcotic violations at both the State and Federal levels.

         That same day, a Superior Court Judge issued the Warrant. The search was executed on 27 April 2017. As a result of the search, the Winston-Salem Police Department seized heroin, fentanyl, "crack" cocaine, and other paraphernalia including digital scales, syringes, and plastic baggies. On 23 October 2017, Defendant was indicted on: one count of Felonious Trafficking in Opium/Heroin; Felonious Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule II Substance; Felonious Maintaining Dwelling Used for Controlled Substances; Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Felonious Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule I Substance; and, attaining Habitual-Felon status. On 7 May 2018, prior to trial, Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress evidence of the items seized from the Residence alleging they were obtained as a result of an unlawful search and seizure under the United States and North Carolina Constitutions.

         At a pretrial hearing also on 7 May 2018, the trial court conducted a hearing on Defendant's Motion to Suppress. The trial court denied Defendant's Motion and entered the Motion to Suppress Order. In the Motion to Suppress Order, the trial court made Findings of Fact. The relevant Findings of Fact are as follows:

4. As is set out in the application for the search warrant, in March 2017, Detective Branson received information from a confidential source that three types of drugs: "crack" cocaine, heroin, and marijuana were being sold by a white male known as Bobby Caddell, from a house located at 2309 Urban Street. Detective Branson also received information that the defendant was in possession of a .380 caliber handgun, a 9 mm handgun, and two shotguns.
5. After receiving this information, [D]etective Branson began an investigation, and checked the Winston-Salem Police data system known as PISTOL, and she was able to identify defendant through these records.
6. Thereafter, and as recited by the application for the search warrant, within 72 hours prior to applying for the warrant, Detective Branson met with a confidential reliable and compensated informant ("CI") in an effort to purchase "crack" cocaine from the defendant, Mr. Caddell.
7. Detective Branson had performed drug buys with this CI on three or four occasions prior, and the CI had never misled Detective Branson or provided false information, and had provided information in the past that led to the seizure of narcotics.
8. Prior to the drug purchase, the CI was searched, and was found to have no drugs, money, or ...

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