On May 17, 2016, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina dismissed a federal indictment filed against a 27-year old Blue LLP client. The dismissal was the direct result of the court’s order granting a motion to suppress evidence filed by Dhamian Blue on the client’s behalf. The client, who had no prior felony convictions, faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and a maximum sentence of life. He was accused of participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute large quantities of cocaine and cocaine base (crack) in Nash County, North Carolina. Upon entry of the order dismissing the case, the client was immediately released from the Edgecombe County jail.
According to the Order for Dismissal, the indictment was dismissed because of “insufficient evidence to proceed.” The lack of evidence resulted from the suppression of evidence seized from the client without a warrant. Blue argued that the warrantless search of the defendant was unlawful under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the appellate cases that govern warrantless searches and seizures. In particular, because there was no objective basis to believe that the defendant was both armed and dangerous, law enforcement officers were not justified in conducting a warrantless search. Neither of the two Nash County sheriff’s deputies who testified at the hearing stated that there was any indication that the defendant was either armed or dangerous.