Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

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.

Instructions

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 09/21/2021
E.g., 09/21/2021

In this larceny by employee case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence. The charges arose out of a 2014 incident in which the defendant, a manager of an auto shop, kept for himself cash paid by a customer for auto repairs. At trial, an officer testified that in 2010 he investigated the defendant for embezzlement. The defendant, who was working as a restaurant manager, admitted stealing from the restaurant by voiding out cash transactions and keeping the cash for himself. The court found that evidence showing that the defendant embezzled from a previous employer four years prior was clearly relevant to show intent, plan, or absence of mistake or accident. In both cases, the defendant worked for the business, held a managerial position, took cash paid and intended for the business, kept the cash for himself, and manipulated accounting procedures to cover his tracks. The prior incident was sufficiently similar to the current one and was not too remote in time. Additionally, the trial court gave a proper limiting instruction.

In this obtaining property by false pretenses case, the trial court did not err by admitting Rule 404(b) evidence. The charges arose out of the defendant’s acts of approaching two individuals (Ms. Hoenig and Ms. Harward), falsely telling them their roofs needed repair, taking payment for the work and then performing shoddy work or not completing the job. At trial, three other witnesses testified to similar incidents. This evidence was “properly admitted under Rule 404(b) because it demonstrated that defendant specifically targeted his victims pursuant to his plan and intent to deceive, and with knowledge and absence of mistake as to his actions.”

In a case involving convictions for uttering a forged instrument and attempting to obtain property by false pretenses in connection with a fraudulent check, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of a second fraudulent check. The second check was virtually identical to the first one, except that it was drawn on a different bank. The fact that the defendant possessed the second check undermined the defendant’s explanation for how he came into possession of the first check and proved intent to commit the charged crimes. Also, the evidence passed the Rule 403 balancing test.

In a case in which the defendant was charged with murdering his wife, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence pertaining to the defendant’s submission of false information in a loan application. Evidence of the defendant’s financial hardship was relevant to show a financial motive for the killing. 

In a case in which the defendant was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses by lying to church members about his situation, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence of the defendant’s similar conduct with regard to other churches, occurring after the incident in question. The evidence was properly admitting to show common scheme or plan and was admissible even though it occurred after the incident in question.

Show Table of Contents