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., 06/20/2024
E.g., 06/20/2024

In this case involving convictions for, among other offenses, sale of cocaine and delivery of cocaine, the trial court did not commit plain error in its application of G.S. 90-95 and in sentencing the defendant.  At sentencing, the trial judge arrested judgment on the conviction of delivering cocaine, a Class H felony, and consolidated other convictions into the single count of selling cocaine, a Class G felony.  On appeal the defendant argued that G.S. 90-95, which generally punishes the sale of cocaine more severely than the delivery of cocaine, is ambiguous as to the appropriate punishment for a judgment based on the “sale or delivery” of cocaine and that the rule of lenity requires that the lesser punishment be imposed.  Taking note of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Moore, 327 N.C. 378 (1990) establishing that a defendant may not be convicted of both the sale and the delivery of a controlled substance when both offenses arise from a single transfer, the court held that the purpose of Moore was accomplished here by the trial judge arresting judgment on the delivery of cocaine conviction and that the defendant did not show that plain error occurred.

(1) The evidence was sufficient to support a conviction for attempted sale or delivery of a counterfeit controlled substance. The charges arose out of a drug transaction that was prearranged by an undercover officer. The officer arranged the transaction with a target, but the defendant and other individuals showed up to execute it. The defendant and the others were arrested when they produced what appeared to be cocaine during the drug transaction. The State proceeded on the acting in concert theory. The officer had twice purchased cocaine from the target at a Bojangles restaurant in Warsaw, North Carolina. He contacted the target again for a third purchase and the target agreed to sell him one ounce of cocaine for $1200 at the same location. When the officer arrived, the defendant and the other men appeared in a vehicle and waved the officer over to their car. The target told the officer by phone “them are my boys, deal with them” and hung up. One of the men in the car displayed a bag of white powder, which was weighed and determined by the men to be one ounce. The men then were arrested, before an actual delivery of the substance or exchange of money occurred. The white powder was later determined to be counterfeit cocaine. This was sufficient evidence of transferring a counterfeit controlled substance under both the attempted sale and delivery theories of transfer.

(2) When a defendant both sells and delivers a counterfeit controlled substance as part of the same transaction, only one conviction may obtain. The focus of the offense is a transfer, committed either by sale or delivery. Here, the defendant was improperly convicted of two offenses—attempted sale and attempted delivery—arising from a single transfer. However because the defendant did not raise the issue on appeal, it was not before the court. The court however noted that the defendant could raise the issue in a Motion for Appropriate Relief.

The trial court erred by sentencing the defendant for both selling marijuana and delivering marijuana when the acts occurred as part of a single transaction. 

For purposes of double jeopardy, a second-degree murder conviction based on unlawful distribution of and ingestion of a controlled substance was not the same offense as sale or delivery of a controlled substance to a juvenile or possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance.

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