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., 09/17/2021
E.g., 09/17/2021

In this Iredell County case, the defendant was convicted of multiple counts of indecent liberties with a minor. He was ordered to enroll in satellite-based monitoring (“SBM”) for life as a recidivist offender. The North Carolina Supreme Court later decided State v. Grady (“Grady III”), 372 N.C. 509, 831 S.E.2d 542 (2019) (holding SBM unconstitutional as applied to recidivist offenders). A “review hearing” of defendant’s SBM enrollment was conducted following that decision. No motion or other pleading was filed by the State for the hearing. The defendant appeared pro se. The State presented a Static-99 risk assessment and recounted the defendant’s criminal record. The trial court ordered that the defendant remain enrolled in the SBM program for life, and the defendant appealed. 

No basis for SBM existed in this case other than the defendant’s status as a recidivist. Grady III squarely held that one’s status as a recidivist alone is insufficient to justify SBM. The State argued that the defendant had been provided an opportunity to seek removal from the program at the review hearing, and that the trial court’s order was supported by the evidence. According to the State, the review process rendered the defendant ineligible for relief under Grady III. The court disagreed:

The State did not invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court for the [review] hearing during which Defendant was ostensibly provided with the post hoc process that the State claims disqualifies him from relief under Grady III. The State cannot avoid Grady III . . . by devising a procedure that itself violates Defendant’s rights. Billings Slip op. at 9.

 While G.S. 14-208.40A permits the trial court to consider SBM at sentencing, and G.S. 14-208.40B permits a “bring-back” hearing where there has been no prior determination of SBM eligibility, neither of these statutes applied to the defendant’s situation. Further, case law is clear that the State may not seek reconsideration of SBM once the issue has been decided. See State v. Clayton, 206 N.C. App. 301 (2010) (imposition of SBM at probation violation was improper when issue had already been decided against the State at SBM hearing). Without a new reportable conviction, there was no jurisdictional basis for the purported SBM review hearing. The lack of a written motion or pleading also acted to deprive the trial court of jurisdiction.  The SBM order was therefore vacated without prejudice, allowing the State to properly seek a SBM order if it desires.

Judge Tyson wrote separately to concur in result only. He noted that any discussion in the majority opinion beyond its holding that the trial court lacked jurisdiction was dicta.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hold the SBM hearing in Craven County. The requirement that the SBM hearing be held in the county in which the defendant resides relates to venue and the defendant’s failure to raise the issue before the trial court waives his ability to raise it for the first time on appeal.

(1) The district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to order the defendant to enroll in satellite-based monitoring (SBM) after a district court conviction for misdemeanor attempted sexual battery. G.S. 14-208.40B(b) requires that SBM hearings be held in superior court for the county in which the offender resides. (2) The superior court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to order the defendant to enroll in SBM after a de novo hearing on the district court’s order than the defendant enroll. Hearings on SBM eligibility are civil proceedings. Pursuant to G.S. 7A-27(c), an appeal from a final judgment in a civil action in district court lies in the court of appeals, not in the superior court.

Because the trial court previously held a hearing pursuant to G.S. 14-208.40B (SBM determination after sentencing) and determined that the defendant was not required to enroll in SBM, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to later hold a second SBM hearing on the same reportable conviction. In this case, the defendant was summoned for the second SBM hearing after a probation violation. The trial court required the defendant to enroll in SBM based on the fact that his probation violation was sexual in nature. The court reasoned that a probation violation is not a crime and cannot constitute a new reportable conviction.

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