South Carolina v. SpearsAnnotate this Case
Eric Spears was indicted for trafficking crack cocaine between ten and twenty-eight grams. Spears moved to suppress the evidence of the drugs seized from his person on the ground he was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, and Spears was convicted as charged. The trial court sentenced Spears to thirty years in prison. A divided court of appeals reversed Spears' conviction. The South Carolina Supreme Court granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision, and reversed, thus upholding Spears' conviction. The Supreme Court found evidence in the record to support the trial court's finding that Spears engaged in a consensual encounter with law enforcement and that Spears' subsequent actions created a reasonable suspicion that he may have been armed and dangerous - justifying law enforcement's Terry frisk that led to the discovery of the offending crack cocaine in Spears' pants.