446 S.E.2d 67 (N.C. 1994), 407A93, State v. Watkins

Docket Nº:407A93.
Citation:446 S.E.2d 67, 337 N.C. 437
Party Name:STATE of North Carolina v. William Davis WATKINS.
Case Date:July 29, 1994
Court:Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 67

446 S.E.2d 67 (N.C. 1994)

337 N.C. 437

STATE of North Carolina


William Davis WATKINS.

No. 407A93.

Supreme Court of North Carolina.

July 29, 1994

Page 68

Michael F. Easley, Atty. Gen. by Jeffrey P. Gray, Asst. Atty. Gen., for State-appellant.

McNairy, Clifford & Clendenin by Locke T. Clifford and Robert O'Hale, Greensboro, for defendant-appellee.

WHICHARD, Justice.

The State appeals from a decision of the Court of Appeals affirming an order granting a motion to suppress all of the evidence obtained by a law enforcement officer pursuant to his stop of defendant's vehicle. The trial court's findings of fact were not excepted to on appeal; therefore, they are not reviewable. Brown v. Board of Education, 269 N.C. 667, 670, 153 S.E.2d 335, 338 (1967); see also State v. Perry, 316 N.C. 87, 107, 340 S.E.2d 450, 462 (1986). The trial court found that:

  1. On the early morning of February 11, 1990, the defendant was on the premises of the [Virginia Carolina] Well Drilling Company, hereafter referred to as "the company", with the permission of the owner/operator of the company, his friend Elbert Smith. The Well Company is located on the [Priddy] Loop Road, and is outside the city limits of the town of Stoneville.

    [337 N.C. 439] 2. The company had a recreational area with a cable tv set and a kitchen and bar which were used at night and on weekends by Mr. Smith and his friends, including the defendant. Some of these people lived in rural areas that were not served by cable and came to the company regularly with family members and friends to watch ball games, play cards, have fish fries, etc.

  2. The defendant had been a regular visitor at the company for many years and was in the habit of coming to the company on a daily basis and sometimes staying until late at night.

  3. There was an auto detailing business on the premises and it was not unusual for cars to be parked around the company during night or daylight hours.

  4. Mr. Smith had given keys to several of his friends, including the defendant[,] so that they could use the recreational facilities at the company whenever they chose to do so.

  5. On the night in question, Officer Norman E. Harbor of the Stoneville Police Department was in his police squad car and was monitoring the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department radio frequency. The Rockingham County Sheriff's Department provides dispatch/communication services to/for the Stoneville Police Department as well as for its own department, and both agencies communicate using the same frequency.

  6. At approximately 3:00 a.m. Officer Harbor overheard a radio transmission from the dispatcher to Officer Robert E. Knight saying that there was a "10-50" behind the Virginia Carolina Well Drilling Company.

  7. No evidence was introduced that tended to show:

    1. The identity of the dispatcher.

    2. The identity of the caller.

    3. Whether the caller refused to identify himself/herself.

      Page 69

    4. What description of the vehicle the caller gave, if any.

    5. Any statements given the dispatcher by the caller to support the conclusion that it was a "10-50," or "suspicious" vehicle.

    6. Whether the dispatcher knew or recognized the caller.

    7. What, if anything, the dispatcher did to verify the believability of the caller.

      [337 N.C. 440] h. What, if anything, the caller told the dispatcher was "suspicious" about...

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