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., 09/25/2021
E.g., 09/25/2021

In an armed robbery case, the trial court did not err by admitting three photographs of the defendant and his tattoos, taken at the jail after his arrest. The photographs were properly authenticated where the officer who took them testified about the procedure used and that they fairly and accurately depicted the defendant’s tattoo as it appeared when he was in custody.

In this drug case where the defendant denied being the perpetrator and suggested that the drugs were sold by one of his sons, the State failed to properly authenticate two photographs used in photographic lineups as being of the defendant’s sons. An informant involved in the drug buy testified that he had purchased drugs from the people depicted in the photos on previous occasions but not on the occasion in question. The State then offered an officer to establish that the photos depicted the defendant’s sons. However, the officer testified that he wasn’t sure that the photos depicted the defendant’s sons. Given this lack of authentication, the court also held that the photos were irrelevant and should not have been admitted.

The trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce three photographs, which were part of a surveillance video, when the photographs were not properly authenticated. However, given the evidence of guilt, no plain error occurred.

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