State v. Anthony, No. 18-1118-3 (N.C. Ct. App. 2022)
Nature of Case: Defendant entered an Alford plea to attempted first-degree sex offense, habitual felon, assault on a female, communicating threats, interfering with emergency communication, first-degree kidnapping, incest, and second-degree forcible rape. The trial court imposed a sentence of 216 to 320 months. Based on these charges and prior offenses, the trial court concluded that defendant had committed an aggravated offense that made him eligible for Satellite Based Monitoring (“SBM”). The trial court ultimately ordered defendant to enroll in SBM for life. Defendant appealed that order.
Defendant’s appeal was initially heard by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2019, and after filing an opinion, the case was remanded back to the Court of Appeals by order of the North Carolina Supreme Court for further consideration in light of State v. Grady, 372 N.C. 509, 831 S.E.2d 542 (2019) which held that SBM constitutes a “search.” A subsequent opinion was filed by the Court of Appeals in November 2020. This case has now returned to the Court of Appeals for the third time, remanded once more by order of the North Carolina Supreme Court for further consideration in light of State v. Hilton, 378 N.C. 692, 2021-NCSC-115, State v. Strudwick, 379 N.C. 94, 2021-NCSC-127, and the General Assembly’s recent amendments to the satellite based monitoring program in 2021 North Carolina Laws S.L. 2021-138 (Sept. 2, 2021, eff. 1 December 2021).
In the present appeal, defendant argues that SBM constitutes an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as applied to him.
Holding: Based upon Hilton and Strudwick and the newly revised statutes applicable to this SBM order, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court, concluding that the trial court conducted an adequate hearing as to the reasonableness of SBM in Defendant’s case and rejected defendant’s argument the State failed to prove lifetime SBM was reasonable as applied to him. The Court of Appeals further concluded that SBM is reasonable as applied to Defendant after conducting a de novo review balancing the state’s interest in “preventing and prosecuting future crimes”, defendant’s “diminished expectation of privacy both during and after any period of post-release supervision,” and the “limited intrusion” caused by lifetime SBM.