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., 11/27/2021
E.g., 11/27/2021

There was sufficient evidence that a parent-child relationship existed between the defendant and the victim to sustain a conviction for sexual offense in a parental role. A parental role includes evidence of emotional trust, disciplinary authority, and supervisory responsibility, with the most significant factor being whether the defendant and the minor “had a relationship based on trust that was analogous to that of a parent and child.” The defendant paid for the victim’s care and support when she was legally unable to work and maintain herself and made numerous representations of his parental and supervisory role over her. He indicated to police he was her “godfather,” represented to a friend that he was trying to help her out and get her enrolled in school, and told his other girlfriends the she was his “daughter.” Additionally, while there was no indication that the defendant was a friend of the victim’s family, he initiated a relationship of trust by approaching the victim with references to his daughter, who was the same age, and being “always” present when the two girls were “hanging out” at his house. This was sufficient evidence of the defendant’s exercise of a parental role over the victim.

The evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendant’s convictions for sex offense by a substitute parent. The case involved allegations of digital penetration. On appeal the defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he penetrated the victim’s genitals. The only evidence offered by the State that could establish penetration came from an officer who testified to the defendant’s confession that he put his hands “in [the victim’s] genital area”, causing her to become sexually aroused. The officer recounted that the defendant talked about the victim being “wet.” The court concluded that a rational juror, hearing this description of the defendant being “in” the victim’s genital area and feeling that she was “wet” and sexually stimulated could reasonably infer that he at least penetrated her labia. Although the evidence does not conclusively establish penetration, a juror could reasonably infer that it occurred.

There was sufficient evidence of penetration during anal intercourse to sustain convictions for statutory sex offense and sexual activity by a substitute parent. The victim testified that the defendant “inserted his penis . . . into [her] butt,” that the incident was painful, and that she wiped blood from the area immediately after the incident.

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