Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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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., 09/26/2021
E.g., 09/26/2021

The trial court properly allowed the State’s witness to use a prior statement to refresh her recollection. The prior statement was made to an officer and recounted an interaction between her and the defendant. The witness had an independent recollection of her conversation with the defendant and of making her statement to the officer. She affirmed that her recollection had been refreshed, testified from memory, and her testimony included details not in the statement. Her testimony showed that she was not using her prior statement as a crutch for something beyond her recall. In its decision the court reviewed and distinguished the law regarding the past recollection recorded and present recollection refreshed.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting a witness’s refreshed recollection. The witness’s testimony was not merely a recitation of the refreshing memorandum. The witness testified to some of the relevant events before being shown a transcript of his police interview. After being shown the transcript, the witness was equivocal about whether he made the statements recorded in it. However, after hearing an audio tape of the interview out of the presence of the jury, the witness said that his memory was refreshed. He then testified in detail regarding the night in question, apparently without reference to the interview transcript. Where, as here, there is doubt about whether about whether the witness was testifying from his or her own recollection, the testimony is admissible, in the trial court’s discretion. 

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