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., 11/27/2021
E.g., 11/27/2021

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress filed under G.S. 15A-980. The defendant argued for suppression of a conviction used in two habitual misdemeanor assault indictments on grounds that it was obtained in violation of his right to counsel. At hearing on the motion the defendant testified that when he pleaded guilty to the charge, he was not represented by counsel and did not waive his right to counsel. At the suppression hearing, an assistant clerk testified that the only remaining records of the proceeding indicated that the defendant was represented by a retained attorney. Specifically, the designations “R” and “N/A” appeared in the electronic record. She testified that the designation “R” was used to reflect the fact that a defendant had retained counsel. “N/A” was used when the handwritten notes on the shuck were not legible or the attorney’s name was unknown and the designation “N/A” was never used when a defendant was unrepresented . Applying the presumption of regularity, the court presumed that the information contained in the records was accurate and found that the defendant failed to rebut the presumption with competent, material and substantial evidence.

The trial court abused its discretion by summarily denying the defendant’s motion under G.S. 15A-980 for suppression, in connection with sentencing, of a prior conviction which the defendant alleged was obtained in violation of her right to counsel. The trial court dismissed the motion as an impermissible collateral attack on a prior conviction that only could be raised by motion for appropriate relief. Relying on a prior unpublished opinion, the court held that although the defendant “could not seek to overturn her prior conviction” on this basis, G.S. 15A-980 gave her “the right to move to suppress that conviction’s use in this case.”

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