Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

Instructions

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E.g., 09/18/2021
E.g., 09/18/2021
State v. Williams, 363 N.C. 689 (Dec. 11, 2009)

In a capital case, the trial court did not err by removing second-chair counsel, who was re-appointed by Indigent Defense Services, after having been allowed to withdraw by the trial court. Nor did the trial court err by failing to ex mero motu conduct a hearing on an unspecified conflict of interest between the defendant and counsel that was never raised by the defendant.

The trial court did not err by denying defense counsel’s motions to withdraw and for the appointment of substitute counsel. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that he and his trial counsel experienced “a complete breakdown in their communications” resulting in ineffective assistance of counsel. The court noted that in the absence of a constitutional violation, the decision about whether to replace appointed counsel is a discretionary one. Although the defendant expressed dissatisfaction with counsel’s performance on several occasions, he did not establish the requisite “good cause” for appointment of substitute counsel or that assigned counsel could not provide him with constitutionally adequate representation. The court concluded that any breakdown in communication “stemmed largely from Defendant’s own behavior” and that the defendant failed to show that the alleged communication problems resulted in a deprivation of his right to the effective assistance of counsel. 

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