On 7/3/2012 the NC Court of Appeals reversed the decision of State v. Harwood regarding an anonymous tip amounting to reasonable suspicion for the police to make a seizure. In the original decision it was held that police were justified in handcuffing a Defendant where an anonymous tip was given to police that he was selling marijuana at a convenience store in a white vehicle.
The facts of the case are that an anonymous tip was given to police that the Defendant was going to be selling marijuana at a convenience store in a white vehicle. The police went to the convenience and saw the Defendant. The Defendant than left the convenience store and police followed him to an address. Once the Defendant arrived in the driveway at the address, he was placed on the ground and arrested. At no point did police ever activate their blue lights or pull over the vehicle.
On appeal it was held that under these facts the police did not have articulable reasonable suspicions to make this seizure. The tip that was originally given to the police lacked significant detail. Additionally the informant who gave the tip was not known to be reliable. This holding supports further findings in other NC case law that in order for police to use a tip as a basis for reasonable suspicion the informant must be found to be reliable and the tip has to be somehow corroborated.
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