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., 04/21/2024
E.g., 04/21/2024

The State adequately authenticated photographs of text messages sent between accomplices to an attempted robbery. A detective testified that he took pictures of text messages on an accomplice’s cell phone while searching the phone incident to arrest. The detective identified the photographs in the exhibit as screen shots of the cell phone and testified that they were in substantially the same condition as when he obtained them. Another accomplice, with whom the first accomplice was communicating in the text messages, also testified to the authenticity of the exhibit. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that to authenticate the text messages, the State had to call employees of the cell phone company.

In a felony larceny after a breaking or entering case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by determining that a text message sent from the defendant’s phone was properly authenticated where substantial circumstantial evidence tended to show that the defendant sent the text message. The defendant’s car was seen driving up and down the victim’s street on the day of the crime in a manner such that an eyewitness found the car suspicious and called the police; the eyewitness provided a license plate number and a description of the car that matched the defendant’s car, and she testified that the driver appeared to be using a cell phone; the morning after the crime, the car was found parked at the defendant’s home with some of the stolen property in the trunk; the phone was found on the defendant’s person the following morning; around the time of the crime, multiple calls were made from and received by the defendant’s phone; the text message itself referenced a stolen item; and by referencing cell towers used to transmit the calls, expert witnesses established the time of the calls placed, the process employed, and a path of transit tracking the phone from the area of the defendant’s home to the area of the victim’s home and back.

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