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., 09/25/2022
E.g., 09/25/2022

The superior court judge erred by “retroactively” applying Structured Sentencing Law (SSL) provisions to a Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) case. The defendant was sentenced under the FSA. After SSL came into effect, he filed a motion for appropriate relief asserting that SSL applied retroactively to his case and that he was entitled to a lesser sentence under SSL. The superior court judge granted relief. The supreme court, exercising rarely used general supervisory authority to promote the expeditious administration of justice, allowed the State’s petition for writ of certiorari and held that the superior court judge erred by modifying the sentence. The court relied on the effective date of the SSL, as set out by the General Assembly when enacting that law. Finding no other ground for relief, the court remanded for reinstatement of the original FSA sentence.

State v. Lee, 228 N.C. App. 324 (July 16, 2013)

The trial court erred by granting the defendant’s MAR and retroactively applying 2009 amendments to the Structured Sentencing Act (SSA) to the defendant’s 2005 offenses. The court reasoned that the Session Law amending the SSA stated that “[t]his act becomes effective December 1, 2009, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.” Thus, it concluded, it is clear that the legislature did not intend for the 2009 grid to apply retroactively to offenses committed prior to December 1, 2009.

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