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., 10/21/2021
E.g., 10/21/2021
State v. Brice, 370 N.C. 244 (Nov. 3, 2017)

On discretionary review from unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 786 S.E.2d 812 (2016), concluding that the habitual misdemeanor larceny indictment was defective, the court reversed. The Court of Appeals concluded that the indictment was defective because it failed to comply with G.S. 15A-928, a defect that was jurisdictional. The indictment alleged that the defendant stole the property after having been previously convicted of misdemeanor larceny on four separate occasions. The court began by holding that the indictment alleged all of the essential elements of habitual misdemeanor larceny. However, it failed to comply with G.S. 15A-928, which provides that when the fact that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense raises the present offense to a higher grade and thereby becomes an element, the indictment must be accompanied by a special indictment charging the prior convictions or these allegations must be included as a separate count. Thus, the issue before the court was whether the fact that the indictment failed to comply with the separate indictment or separate account requirements set out in G.S. 15A-928 constituted a fatal defect depriving the trial court of jurisdiction. The court concluded that noncompliance with the statute was not a jurisdictional issue and thus could not be raised on appeal where, as here, the defendant raised no objection or otherwise sought relief on the issue before the trial court. The court overruled State v. Williams, 153 N.C. App. 192 (2002), which the Court of Appeals had relied on to conclude that a violation of G.S. 15A-928 was jurisdictional.

State v. Carter, 370 N.C. 266 (Nov. 3, 2017)

On discretionary review from a unanimous unpublished decision of the Court of Appeals vacating a conviction for carrying a concealed gun on grounds that the indictment was fatally defective, the court reversed per curiam for the reasons stated in State v. Brice, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Nov. 3, 2017). The defendant was charged with felony carrying a concealed weapon, an offense that became a felony because of a prior conviction. The indictment did not comply with G.S. 15A-928, which requires a special indictment or separate count alleging the prior conviction. The Court of Appeals found that failure to comply with the statute was a jurisdictional defect; the Supreme Court reversed.

On remand from the state Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of State v. Brice, ___ N.C. ___, 806 S.E.2d 32 (2017) (habitual misdemeanor larceny indictment was not defective; a violation of G.S. 15A-928 is not jurisdictional and cannot be raised on appeal where the defendant raised no objection or otherwise sought relief on the issue in the trial court), the court held that because the defendant failed to raise the non-jurisdictional issue below, the defendant waived his right to appeal the issue of whether the aggravated felony death by vehicle indictment violated G.S. 15A-928.

Following State v. Jeffers, 48 N.C. App. 663, 665-66 (1980), the court held that G.S. 15A-928 (allegation and proof of previous convictions in superior court) does not apply to the crime of felon in possession of a firearm.

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