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., 09/22/2021
E.g., 09/22/2021

The evidence was sufficient to establish an intent to cause bodily harm or terrorize where the facts showed that after severely beating the victim, the defendants first attempted to stuff him into a garbage can and then threw him into a 10 or 12-foot-deep ditch filled with rocks and water; one defendant had been to the location several times and could have seen the ditch; and the victim could not recall anything after the assault began and was not struggling or moving during this process. This evidence supports a reasonable inference that the defendants intended to cause the victim serious bodily injury if they believed he was unconscious and unable to protect himself as he was thrown into the ditch, landing on rocks and possibly drowning. Alternatively, it supports a reasonable inference that the defendants intended to terrorize the victim if they believed him to be conscious and aware of being stuffed into a garbage can and then flung into a deep, rocky, water-filled ditch.

(1) The evidence was sufficient to establish that the defendant confined and restrained Victims Alvarez and Cortes for the purpose of terrorizing them and doing them serious bodily harm. The evidence was sufficient to establish a purpose of terrorizing Alvarez when the defendant beat and kicked Alvarez repeatedly while wrestling him to the floor; the defendant bound Alvarez’s hands and feet and placed a rag in his mouth; the defendant and an accomplice threatened to kill Alvarez; the defendant pulled Alvarez’s pants down, and the accomplice forced a bottle into his rectum; and Alvarez testified that he thought he was going to die. There was sufficient evidence as to the purpose of doing serious bodily harm to Alvarez given the sexual assault. As to Cortes, the defendant and the accomplice knocked him to the floor, and kicked him in the stomach repeatedly; Cortes was hog-tied so severely that his spine was fractured; he had lacerations to the lips and abrasions on his face, neck, chest, and abdomen; tissue paper was in his mouth; the spine fracture would have paralyzed the lower part of his body; and cause of death was a combination of suffocation and strangulation, with a contributing factor being the fracture of the thoracic spine. (2) The trial court’s instruction clearly and appropriately defined “terrorizing” and “serious bodily harm” as required for kidnapping. The trial court instructed that: “Terrorizing means more than just putting another in fear. It means putting that person in some high degree of fear, a state of intense fright or apprehension, or doing serious bodily injury to that person. Serious bodily injury may be defined as such physical injury as causes great pain or suffering.”

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