Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


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., 06/23/2024
E.g., 06/23/2024

The defendant’s plea was valid even though the plea agreement contained an unenforceable provision preserving his right to appeal the transfer of his juvenile case to superior court. Distinguishing cases holding that the inclusion of an invalid provision reserving the right to obtain appellate review of a particular issue rendered a plea agreement unenforceable, the court noted that in this case the defendant had ample notice that the provision was, in all probability, unenforceable and he elected to proceed with his guilty plea in spite of this. Specifically, he was so informed by the trial court.

The defendant’s plea agreement impermissibly sought to preserve the right to appeal adverse rulings on his motions to dismiss and in limine when no right to appeal those rulings in fact existed. The court remanded, instructing that the defendant may withdraw his guilty plea and proceed to trial or attempt to negotiate another plea agreement that does not violate the law.

The trial court erred by accepting a plea agreement that attempted to preserve the defendant’s right to appeal the trial court’s adverse ruling on his motion to dismiss a felon in possession of a firearm charge on grounds that the statute was unconstitutional as applied. Because a defendant has no right to appeal such a ruling, the court vacated the plea and remanded. A dissenting judge would have dismissed the appeal entirely because of the defendant’s failure to include a copy of his written motion to dismiss and suppress in the record.

The defendant’s plea had to be vacated where the plea agreement included a term that the defendant had a right to appeal an adverse ruling on a pretrial motion but the pretrial motion was not subject to appellate review.

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