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., 07/21/2024
E.g., 07/21/2024
State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (Nov. 5, 2010)

(1) The trial court did not err by failing to give a peremptory instruction on statutory mitigating circumstances when the evidence as to each was contested. (2) Although the trial court erred by failing to give a peremptory instruction on the non-statutory mitigating circumstance that the defendant’s mother did not accept his deficits, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. (3) The trial court did not err by failing to give peremptory instructions on non-statutory mitigating circumstances when it was not clear how one was mitigating or that the evidence was credible; as to others, the evidence was not uncontroverted. 

State v. Maness, 363 N.C. 261 (June 18, 2009)

The trial judge did not err by declining to give a peremptory instruction on a non-statutory mitigating circumstance that the defendant accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct. While the defendant admitted killing the victim and acknowledged that the killing was a terrible mistake, he only authorized his lawyers to concede guilt to second-degree murder. A willingness to plead guilty to second-degree murder is evidence only of the defendant’s willingness to lessen exposure to the death penalty or a life sentence upon a conviction for first-degree murder.

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