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., 06/26/2024
E.g., 06/26/2024

No fatal variance between indictment and the evidence in a carrying a concealed weapon case. After an officer discovered that the defendant was carrying knives and metallic knuckles, the defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The indictment identified the weapon as “a Metallic set of Knuckles.” The trial court instructed the jury concerning “one or more knives.” The court, per curiam and without an opinion, summarily affirmed the ruling of the North Carolina Court of Appeals that the charging language, “a Metallic set of Knuckles,” was unnecessary surplusage, and even assuming the trial court erred in instructing on a weapon not alleged in the charge, no prejudicial error required a reversal where there was evidence that the defendant possessed knives.

In this Chatham County case, the Court of Appeals overturned defendant’s conviction for possession of a firearm at a demonstration, finding that the indictment failed to specify the type of land where the violation took place.

Defendant attended a protest in Hillsborough over the removal of a confederate monument in 2019. During the protest, an officer observed defendant carrying a concealed firearm. Defendant was indicted for violating G.S. 14-277.2, and at trial moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the misdemeanor statement of charges was fatally defective for not specifying the type of location for the offense, specifically the required location of a private health care facility or a public place under control of the state or local government. Defendant’s motion was denied and she was convicted of the misdemeanor.

Reviewing defendant’s appeal, the court agreed with defendant’s argument that her indictment was defective. Although the state moved to amend the location in the statement of charges, and the superior court granted that motion, the Court of Appeals explained that this did not remedy the defect. The court explained that “if a criminal pleading is originally defective with respect to an essential element . . . amendment of the pleading to include the missing element is impermissible, as doing so would change the nature of the offense.” Slip Op. at 8-9. The court looked to analogous statutes and determined that the specific type of location for the offense was an essential element of G.S. 14-277.2, and that the state had failed to specify the location in either the statement of charges or the police report provided with the statement. Instead, the statement and police report simply listed the street address and described the location as “[h]ighway/[r]oad/[a]lley/[s]treet/[s]idewalk[,]” failing to specify the essential element related to the type of location. Id. at 16-17.

Judge Inman concurred only in the result.

When charging carrying a concealed gun under G.S. 14-269, the exception in G.S. 14-269(a1)(2) (having a permit) is a defense not an essential element and need not be alleged in the indictment.

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