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.

Instructions

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

In a child sexual assault case, the trial court erred by allowing a DSS social worker to testify that there had been a substantiation of sex abuse of the victim by the defendant. Citing its opinion in State v. Giddens, 199 N.C. App. 115 (2009), aff’d, 363 N.C. 826 (2010), the court agreed that this constituted an impermissible opinion vouching for the victim’s credibility. However, the court found that unlike Giddens, the error did not rise to the level of plain error.

State v. Giddens, 199 N.C. App. 115 (Aug. 18, 2009) aff’d, 363 N.C. 826 (Mar 12 2010)

Holding, over a dissent, that plain error occurred in a child sex case when the trial court admitted the testimony of a child protective services investigator. The investigator testified that the Department of Social Services (DSS) had “substantiated” the defendant as the perpetrator and that the evidence she gathered caused DSS personnel to believe that the abuse alleged by the victims occurred. Case law holds that a witness may not vouch for the credibility of a victim.

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