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

In an assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury case, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury that three gunshot wounds to the leg constituted serious injury. The victim was shot three times, was hospitalized for two days, had surgery to remove a bone fragment from his leg, and experienced pain from the injuries up through the time of trial. From this evidence, the court concluded, it is unlikely that reasonable minds could differ as to whether the victim’s injuries were serious.

(1) There was sufficient evidence that the victim suffered serious injury. The defendant shot the victim with a shotgun, causing injuries to the victim’s calf and 18-20 pellets to lodge in his leg, which did not fully work themselves out for six months. One witness testified that the victim had holes in his leg from the ankle up and another observed blood on his leg and noted that the wounds looked like little holes from birdshot from a shotgun. (2) When the trial judge used N.C.P.J.I.—Crim. 208.15 to instruct the jury on the offense of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, it did not err by failing to also give instruction 120.12, defining serious injury.

The trial court did not commit plain error by peremptorily instructing the jury that multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body would constitute serious injury. The victim required emergency surgery, was left with scars on his chest, shoulder, back and neck, and a bullet remained in his neck, causing him continuing pain.

The trial court did not err by failing to instruct on the lesser-included offense of assault with a deadly weapon to the charge on assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. After a beating by the defendant, the victim received hospital treatment, had contusions and bruises on her knee, could not walk for about a week and a half, and her knee still hurt at the time of trial.

The evidence was sufficient to establish serious injury where the defendant had a three-inch knife during the assault; the victim bled “a lot” from his wounds, dripping blood throughout the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen; the victim was on the floor in pain and spitting up blood when the officer arrived; the victim was stabbed or cut 8 or 9 times and had wounds on his lip, back, and arm; the victim was removed by stretcher to the emergency room, where he remained for 12 hours, receiving a chest tube to drain blood, stitches in his back and arm, and was placed on a ventilator because of a lung puncture; the victim received pain medication for approximately one week; and at trial the victim still had visible scars on his lip, arm, and back.

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