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., 07/24/2024
E.g., 07/24/2024

The court affirmed a conviction for second-degree sexual offense in a case where the defendant surprised a Target shopper by putting his hand up her skirt and penetrating her vagina. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because his action surprised the victim, he did not act by force and against her will. 

(1) In a second-degree rape and sexual offense case, the evidence sufficiently established use of force. The victim repeatedly declined the defendant’s advances and told him to stop and that she didn’t want to engage in sexual acts. The defendant pushed her to the ground. When he was on top of her she tried to push him away. (2) Because evidence of vaginal penetration was clear and positive, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on attempted rape.

In Re T.W., 221 N.C. App. 193 (June 5, 2012)

Because there was no evidence of threat of force or special relationship there was insufficient evidence of constructive force to support second-degree sexual offense charges. The State had argued that constructive force was shown by (a) the fact that the juvenile threatened the minor victims with exposing their innermost secrets and their participation with him in sexual activities, and (2) the power differential between the juvenile and the victims. Rejecting this argument, the court concluded: for “the concept of constructive force to apply, the threats resulting in fear, fright, or coercion must be threats of physical harm.” Acknowledging that constructive force also can be inferred from a special relationship, such as parent and child, the court concluded that the relationships in the case at hand did not rise to that level. In this case the juvenile was a similar age to the victims and their relationship was one of leader and follower in school.

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