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., 09/22/2021
E.g., 09/22/2021

The trial court’s jury instruction regarding the duty to reach a verdict did not coerce a guilty verdict. The relevant pattern instruction (N.C.P.I.--Crim. 101.35), based on G.S. 15A-1235(a), reads: "All twelve of you must agree to your verdict. You cannot reach a verdict by majority vote. When you have agreed upon a unanimous verdict(s) (as to each charge) your foreperson should so indicate on the verdict form(s)." Here, the trial court instructed: "You must be unanimous in your decision. In other words, all twelve jurors must agree. When you have agreed upon a unanimous verdict, your foreperson may so indicate on the verdict form that will be provided to you." The defendant argued that telling the jurors that they had to agree, rather than that they had to agree to a verdict, caused the jurors to erroneously construe the charge to be a mandatory instruction that a verdict must be reached. Although it concluded that the “pattern instruction more carefully instructs the jury,” the court found that the instruction in this case, when viewed in context, was not coercive of the jury's verdict.

Show Table of Contents