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., 09/25/2022
E.g., 09/25/2022

Relying on State v. Meadows, 201 N.C. App. 707 (2010) (trial court abused its discretion by allowing an officer to testify that substances were cocaine based on NarTest field test), the court held that the trial abused its discretion by admitting an officer’s testimony that narcotics indicator field test kits indicated the presence of cocaine in the residence in question.

(1) In a drug case, the court followed State v. Meadows, 201 N.C. App. 707 (2010), and held that the trial court erred by allowing an offer to testify as an expert concerning the use and reliability of a NarTest machine. (2) The trial court erred by admitting testimony by an expert in forensic chemistry regarding the reliability of a NarTest machine. Although the witness’s professional background and comparison testing provided some indicia of reliability, other factors required the court to conclude that the expert's proffered method of proof was not sufficiently reliable. Among other things, the court noted that no case has recognized the NarTest as an accepted method of analysis or identification of controlled substances and that the expert had not conducted any independent research on the machine outside of his duties as a NarTest employee.

A new trial was required in a drug case where the trial court erred by admitting expert testimony as to the identity of the controlled substance when that testimony was based on the results of a NarTest machine. Applying Howerton v. Arai Helmet, Ltd., 358 N.C. 440 (2004), the court held that the State failed to demonstrate the reliability of the NarTest machine.

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