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., 06/27/2024
E.g., 06/27/2024

In this drug case, the trial court did not err by admitting a forensic laboratory report after the defendant stipulated to its admission. The defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to engage in a colloquy with her to ensure that she personally waived her sixth amendment right to confront the analyst whose testimony otherwise would be necessary to admit the report. State v. Perez, __ N.C. App. __, __, 817 S.E.2d 612, 615 (2018), establishes that a waiver of Confrontation Clause rights does not require the type of colloquy required to waive the right to counsel or to enter a guilty plea. In that case, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by allowing him to stipulate to the admission of forensic laboratory reports without engaging in a colloquy to ensure that he understood the consequences of that decision. The court rejected that argument, declining the defendant’s request to impose on trial courts an obligation to personally address a defendant whose attorney seeks to waive any of his constitutional rights through a stipulation. In Perez, the court noted that if the defendant did not understand the implications of the stipulation, his recourse is a motion for appropriate relief asserting ineffective assistance of counsel. The court rejected the defendant’s attempt to distinguish Perez on grounds that it involved a written stipulation personally signed by the defendant, while this case involves defense counsel’s oral stipulation made in the defendant’s presence. The court found this a “distinction without a difference.” Here, the stipulation did not amount to an admission of guilt and thus was not the equivalent of a guilty plea. The court continued:

[W]e . . . decline to impose on the trial courts a categorical obligation “to personally address a defendant” whose counsel stipulates to admission of a forensic report and corresponding waiver of Confrontation Clause rights. That advice is part of the role of the defendant’s counsel. The trial court’s obligation to engage in a separate, on-the-record colloquy is triggered only when the stipulation “has the same practical effect as a guilty plea.”

State v. Huey, 204 N.C. App. 513 (June 15, 2010)

The defendant moved to suppress on grounds that an officer stopped him without reasonable suspicion. At a hearing on the suppression motion, the State stipulated that the officer knew, at the time of the stop, that the robbery suspects the officer was looking for were approximately 18 years old. The defendant was 51 years old. However, at the hearing, the officer gave testimony contradicting this stipulation and indicating that he did not learn of the suspects’ age until after he had arrested the defendant. The court concluded that the stipulation was binding on the State, even though the defendant made no objection when the officer testified.

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