Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

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

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 09/21/2021
E.g., 09/21/2021

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by permitting certain testimony by the State’s experts because of a discovery violation. The experts included Blair Cobb, a licensed clinical social worker and pediatric therapist who testified as an expert in child counseling, and Cynthia Stewart, a social worker who testified as an expert in interviewing children in cases of suspected abuse or neglect. The defendant argued that the State violated G.S. 15A-903(a)(2) by not timely providing Stewart’s report and Cobb’s records and that as a result, he was prejudiced by lack of time to adequately prepare for cross-examination. The State served notice of expert witnesses on November 24, 2014, listing Stewart and Cobb, and indicating that the State would make the expert’s reports available during discovery and that their CVs would be forthcoming. The State provided initial discovery on December 2, 2014, including Stewart’s report, prepared after her interview with the child and stating her impressions and recommendations as well as a 30-page report by Cobb regarding her visits with the child and comprehensive clinical assessment. On January 29, 2015, the defendant filed a motion for additional materials, requesting that each expert prepare a meaningful and detailed report. At a hearing on February 2, 2015, the trial court instructed the State to have Stewart and Cobb couch their diagnoses in the form of opinions. In mid-February 2015, the State provided further discovery, including additional therapy notes from Cobb and a revised letter from Cobb outlining the basis of her opinion, as well as a DVD recording of Stewart’s interview with the child. The defendant then asked the trial court to either exclude the expert opinions or give the defense additional time to prepare. The trial court continued the matter until April 13, 2015. On these facts, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he did not have time to adequately prepare to effectively cross-examine the experts.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion to continue because of the State’s alleged discovery violation. Although the State provided the defendant with a copy the robbery victim’s pre-trial written statement and a composite sketch of the perpetrator based on the victim’s description, the defendant argued that the State violated its continuing duty to disclose by failing to inform the defense of the victim’s statement, made on the morning of trial, that she recognized the defendant as the robber when he entered in the courtroom. After the victim identified the defendant as the perpetrator, the defense moved to continue to obtain an eyewitness identification expert. Finding no abuse of discretion, the court relied, in part, on the timing of the events and that the defendant could have anticipated that the victim would be able to identify the defendant.

Show Table of Contents