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., 06/25/2024
E.g., 06/25/2024
State v. Phillips, 365 N.C. 103 (June 16, 2011)

In a multiple homicide case in which the defendant also was charged with kidnapping a victim who was a minor, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence that the minor’s parents did not consent to her kidnapping. Because the victim’s parents did not testify, there was no direct evidence of lack of parental consent. However, the State presented evidence that, having shot and repeatedly stabbed the victim while she was at the murder scene, the defendant and his accomplices found her after she crawled outside and removed her from the yard for the stated purpose of killing her while she was incapable of escaping. They loaded her into the bed of the defendant’s truck and drove to a trash pile, only to abandon her there when they heard sirens.

(1) Evidence at trial tended to show that after the victim requested a ride to Walmart and the community college because his car was in the shop for repair, the defendant, who was the victim’s cousin, and the defendant’s girlfriend drove the victim to a secluded area where the defendant robbed him at gunpoint.  Viewed in the light most favorable to the State, the victim’s testimony of the defendant’s claim of having to “make a quick stop somewhere” on the way to the community college from Walmart, where the victim had cashed a check for a significant amount of money, was sufficient evidence that the defendant unlawfully removed the victim by means of fraud and trickery, without the victim’s consent, for the purpose of committing armed robbery such that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence.  As the court explained, the “[d]efendant’s misrepresentations regarding the parties’ ultimate destination enabled him to remove [the victim] to the secluded location, where [the] [d]efendant robbed him at gunpoint.” Slip op. at 19.

(2) The record was insufficient to enable review of the merits of the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim regarding his trial attorney’s failure to stipulate to a prior conviction and the court dismissed the claim without prejudice so that the defendant could reassert it in a MAR.

Vacating two of the defendant’s second-degree kidnapping convictions on grounds that the plain language of G.S. 14-39(a) does not permit prosecution of a parent for kidnapping, at least when that parent has custodial rights with respect to the children. The court explained:

“[T]here is no kidnapping when a parent or legal custodian consents to the unlawful confinement of his minor child, regardless whether the child himself consents to the confinement. The plain language requires that only one parent -- “a parent” -- consent to the confinement.

The court was careful to note “We do not address the question whether a parent without custodial rights may be held criminally liable for kidnapping.” (footnote 2).

The removal of the victim was without her consent when the defendant induced the victim to enter his car on the pretext of paying her money in exchange for sex, but his real intent was to assault her; a reasonable mind could conclude that had the victim known of such intent, she would not have consented to have been moved by the defendant.

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