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., 06/17/2024
E.g., 06/17/2024

In a case where the trial court initially sentenced the defendant correctly but then erroneously thought it had used the wrong sentencing grid and re-sentenced the defendant to a lighter sentence using the wrong grid, the court remanded for imposition of the initial correct but more severe sentence. The court noted that G.S. 15A-1335 did not apply because the higher initial sentence was statutorily mandated.

G.S. 15A-1335 did not apply when on retrial the trial court sentenced the defendant for a different, more serious offense.

The trial court did not violate G.S. 15A-1335 when on remand it sentenced the defendant to a term that was longer than he originally received. The trial court initially imposed an illegal term, sentencing the defendant to a presumptive range sentence of 120 to 153 months; the correct presumptive range sentence for the defendant’s class of offense and prior record level was 135 to 171 months. When the trial court imposed a presumptive range of 135 to 171 months on remand, it was imposing a statutorily mandated sentence that did not run afoul of G.S. 15A-1335. 

No violation of G.S. 15A-1335 occurred on resentencing. A jury found the defendant guilty of felonious breaking and entering, felonious larceny, felonious possession of stolen goods, and for being a habitual felon. The trial court consolidated the offenses for judgment and sentenced the defendant to 125-159 months of imprisonment. The appellate court subsequently vacated the felony larceny conviction and remanded for resentencing. At resentencing the trial court consolidated the offenses and again sentenced the defendant to 125-150 months. The defendant argued that because he received the same sentence even though one of the convictions had been vacated, the new sentence violated G.S. 15A-1335. The court disagreed, concluding that the pursuant to G.S. 15A-1340.15(b), having consolidated the sentences, the trial court was required to sentenced the defendant for the most serious offense, which it did at the initial sentencing and the resentencing.

Citing, State v. Oliver, 155 N.C. App 209 (2002), the court held that no violation of G.S. 15A-1335 occurred when, after the defendant’s two death sentences for murder were vacated, the trial judge imposed two consecutive life sentences.

After being found guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping, the defendant was sentenced to consecutive terms of 307-378 months for the rape and 133-169 for the kidnapping. On appeal, the court held that the trial judge erred by allowing the same sexual assault to serve as the basis for the rape and first-degree kidnapping convictions. The court remanded for a new sentencing hearing, instructing the trial judge to either arrest judgment on first-degree kidnapping and resentence on second-degree kidnapping, or arrest judgment on first-degree rape and resentence on first-degree kidnapping. The trial judge chose the first option, resentencing the defendant to 370-453 months for first-degree rape and to a consecutive term of 46-65 months for second-degree kidnapping. The resentencing violated G.S. 15A-1335 because the trial court imposed a more severe sentence for the rape conviction after the defendant’s successful appeal. The court rejected the State’s argument that when applying G.S. 15A-1335, the court should consider whether the aggregated new sentences are greater than the aggregated original sentences.

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