Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


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., 06/22/2024
E.g., 06/22/2024

The State failed to introduce sufficient evidence of sexual battery. The 13-year-old juvenile was adjudicated delinquent in part based on two counts of sexual battery against two 11-year-old female schoolmates. It was alleged that he draped his arms around the girls’ shoulders in order to smear a glowing liquid on them during an evening of Halloween trick-or-treating. The State failed to introduce sufficient evidence that the juvenile touch the tops of the girls’ breasts for a sexual purpose. One girl testified that the juvenile rubbed “this green glow stick stuff” on her leaving glowing liquid on her shirt above her collarbone. The other girl testified that the juvenile reached his arm around her shoulder and “put this weird green glowing stuff” on her arm and back, also touching her “boobs” over her sweatshirt. In criminal cases involving adult defendants the element of acting for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse may be inferred from the very act itself. However, an intent to arouse or gratify sexual desires may not be inferred in children under the same standard. Rather, a sexual purpose does not exist without some evidence of the child’s maturity, intent, experience, or other factor indicating his purpose in acting. Here, the juvenile denied touching either girl’s breasts, saying that he only put his hand around their shoulders; this account was supported by witnesses. Neither the location nor the alleged manner of the touching was secretive in nature; rather, the incident occurred on a busy public street on Halloween. The evidence was undisputed that the juvenile have been wiping green glowing liquid on trees, signs, and other young people during the evening. Nothing about his attitude suggested a sexual motivation; neither girl said that he made any sexual remarks. And when the girls ran away, he did not try to pursue them.

In re K.C., 226 N.C. App. 452 (Apr. 16, 2013)

There was insufficient evidence to support a delinquency adjudication for sexual battery. Although there was sufficient evidence of sexual contact, there was insufficient evidence of a sexual purpose. When dealing with children, sexual purpose cannot be inferred from the act itself and that there must be “evidence of the child’s maturity, intent, experience, or other factor indicating his purpose in acting.” It continued, “factors like age disparity, control by the juvenile, the location and secretive nature of the juvenile’s actions, and the attitude of the juvenile should be taken into account.” Evaluating the circumstances, the court found the evidence insufficient.

In a sexual battery case, the evidence was sufficient to establish that the defendant grabbed the victim’s crotch for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. The defendant previously had asked the victim for her phone number and for a date, and had brushed against her thigh in such a manner that the victim reported the incident to her supervisor and was instructed not to be alone with the defendant.

Assault is not a lesser-included offense of sexual battery.

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