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.

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E.g., 09/26/2021
E.g., 09/26/2021

For reasons discussed in the court’s opinion, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the State’s appeal of the defendant’s motion to suppress and that the superior court erred when it remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss.

In this DWI case, the superior court properly dismissed the State’s notice of appeal from a district court ruling granting the defendant’s motion to suppress where the State’s notice of appeal failed to specify any basis for the appeal. Although such a notice may be sufficient for an appeal to the Court of Appeals, the State is required to specify the basis for its appeal to superior court.

The superior court erred by denying the State a de novo hearing from the district court’s preliminary determination that the defendant’s motion to suppress should be granted. At issue was whether G.S. 20-38.7(a) “requires more than a general objection by the State to the district court judge’s findings of fact or an assertion of new facts or evidence in order to demonstrate a ‘dispute about the findings of fact.’” The court held: “Neither the plain language of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-38.7(a) nor § 15A-1432(b) requires the State to set forth the specific findings of fact to which it objects in its notice of appeal to superior court.”

In this DWI case where the district court judge entered a preliminary determination that the results of the defendant’s blood alcohol test should be suppressed but the superior court reversed the preliminary determination on the State’s appeal and remanded to the district court for further proceedings, the defendant had no right of appeal to the court of appeals. Because the district court did not enter a final judgment pursuant to G.S. 20-38.6(f) denying the motion to suppress, the defendant could not seek review of the ruling on that motion. Although the court found it had authority to grant certiorari, it declined to do so.

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