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., 10/18/2021
E.g., 10/18/2021
State v. Foust, 220 N.C. App. 63 (Apr. 17, 2012)

In a rape case, the trial court was not required to intervene ex mero motu when the State asserted in closing: “What happened . . . is no different than a hunter in the field, a beast in the field sitting [sic] a prey, stalking the prey, learning the prey, and at some point in time, eventually taking what he wants, and that’s what happened here.”

In a case involving attempted murder and other charges, the prosecutor’s reference to the victims as sheep and the defendant as a “predator” did not require the trial court to intervene ex mero motu. However, the court stated that comparisons between criminal defendants and animals are strongly disfavored.

State v. Oakes, 209 N.C. App. 18 (Jan. 4, 2011)

The prosecutor’s statements during closing argument were not so grossly improper as to require the trial court to intervene ex mero motu. Although disapproving a prosecutor’s comparisons between criminal defendants and animals, the court concluded that the prosecutor’s statements equating the defendant’s actions to a hunting tiger were not grossly improper; the statements helped to explain the State’s theory of premeditated and deliberate murder.

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