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., 10/18/2021
E.g., 10/18/2021

(1) The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury on victim Stokes. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State was required to prove that the defendant specifically intended to kill Stokes when he fired into a trailer when Stokes and others were present. The court reasoned that “It is not determinative to this issue of whether or not Defendant knew Stokes was in the trailer.” It concluded: “there was sufficient evidence for the jury to infer Defendant intended to kill whoever was inside the trailer.” The court noted that, among other things, the defendant fired numerous shots into the trailer knowing it was occupied.

(2) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the assault conviction should be reversed because the trial court did not instruct the jury on the doctrine of transferred intent, noting that the State did not argue transferred intent and neither party requested a transferred intent instruction. Rather, the State’s evidence showed that the defendant knew a trailer was occupied by at least two people when he fired into it numerous times. Based on the nature of the assault, the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find that the defendant intended to kill whoever was in the trailer.

The evidence was sufficient to show an assault with intent to kill an officer when, after having fatally shot eight people, the defendant ignored the officer’s instructions to drop his shotgun and continued to reload it. The defendant then turned toward the officer, lowered the shotgun, and fired one shot at the officer at the same time that the officer fired at the defendant.

There was sufficient evidence of an intent to kill when during a robbery the defendant fired a gun beside the store clerk’s head and the clerk testified that he thought the defendant was going to kill him.

State v. Wilkes, 225 N.C. App. 233 (Jan. 15, 2013) aff’d per curiam, 367 N.C. 116 (Oct 4 2013)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a charge of assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill, over the defendant’s argument that there was insufficient evidence of an intent to kill. This charge was based on the defendant’s use of a bat to assault his wife. The court determined that the nature and manner of the attack supported a reasonable inference that the defendant intended to kill, including that he hit her even after she fell to her knees, he repeatedly struck her head with the bat until she lost consciousness, she never fought back, and the wounds could have been fatal. Also, the circumstances of the attack, including the parties’ conduct, provided additional evidence of intent to kill, including that the two had a volatile relationship and the victim had recently filed for divorce.

The trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury to the charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. The defendant broke into a trailer in the middle of the night and used an iron pipe to repeatedly beat in the head an unarmed, naked victim, who had just woken up.

There was sufficient evidence of an intent to kill and the weapon used was deadly as a matter of law. The defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and other offenses. There was sufficient evidence of an intent to kill where the defendant and his accomplice discussed intentionally forcing drivers off the road in order to rob them and one of them then deliberately threw a very large rock or concrete chunk through the driver’s side windshield of the victim’s automobile as it was approaching at approximately 55 or 60 miles per hour. The court concluded that it is easily foreseeable that such deliberate action could result in death, either from the impact of the rock on or a resulting automobile accident.

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