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

The trial court did not err by submitting the (f)(1) mitigating circumstance (no significant history of prior criminal activity) to the jury. The defendant’s prior record included: felony breaking and entering in 1999; felony larceny in 1998; driving under the influence in 1996; larceny in 1993; sale of marijuana in 1991; and sale of a narcotic or controlled substance in 1990. The court found it significant that the priors were somewhat remote in time and did not appear to involve violence against a person. 

State v. Lane, 365 N.C. 7 (Mar. 11, 2011)

The trial court did not err by failing to submit the G.S. 15A-2000(f)(1) (no significant history of prior criminal activity) mitigating circumstance. A forecast of evidence suggested that the defendant had violently abducted his former wife and forced her to engage in sexual activity.

The trial court did not err by instructing the jury to consider, over the defendant’s objection, the (f)(1) mitigating circumstance (no significant history of prior criminal activity). The defendant’s priors consisted of breaking and entering a motor vehicle (Class I felony) and several misdemeanors (larceny, public disturbance, defrauding an innkeeper, trespassing, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of marijuana). There was also evidence of unspecified thefts, mostly at school. Because the evidence pertained to minor offenses, a rational jury could conclude that the defendant had no significant history of criminal activity.

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