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

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E.g., 09/22/2021
E.g., 09/22/2021

In this murder case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the clergy-communicant privilege prohibited admission of evidence regarding the defendant’s confession to his pastor. The court noted that there are two requirements for this privilege to apply: the defendant must be seeking the counsel and advice of his or her minister; and the information must be entrusted to the minister as a confidential communication. Here, the evidence in question was not the defendant’s confession to the pastor; it was evidence that the defendant told a third-party who was not a member of the clergy that he had confessed to the pastor about the murder. Because no recognized privilege existed between the defendant and that third-party, the defendant’s statement to the third-party that he had confessed to a preacher was not privileged. The court continued, concluding that even if error had occurred the defendant failed to show prejudice.

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