Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

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.

Instructions

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 10/18/2021
E.g., 10/18/2021

The court vacated and remanded an opinion by the court of appeals in State v. Williamson, 206 N.C. App. 599 (Sept. 7, 2010) (over a dissent, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to enter a written order with findings of fact and conclusions of law when denying the defendant’s MAR; the trial court’s oral order, containing findings of fact and conclusions of law and appearing in the transcript, was sufficient). The court noted that during review it became apparent that a written order actually was entered by the trial court, the existence of which apparently was not known to appellate counsel. The court remanded to the court of appeals to determine: (1) whether to amend the record on appeal to permit consideration of the order; (2) whether to order new briefs and/or oral arguments in light of its ruling on item (1) above; (3) whether to address defendant’s issues on the merits; and (4) whether to enter any other or further relief as it may deem appropriate.

The defendant was charged with four counts of engaging in sexual acts against a child under 13 and taking indecent liberties with a child. The defendant was alleged to have touched a child, A.M.D., in sexual manner on several occasions over a period of one to two years. The state’s evidence at trial consisted primarily of testimony from the victim, A.M.D., and corroborating testimony from other witnesses to whom she had disclosed the abuse. The state dismissed some of the charges prior to verdict, and the jury ultimately convicted the defendant of one count of sexual offense against a child under age 13.

Defendant filed an MAR seeking a new trial, based on the victim recanting her testimony. At a hearing on the MAR, the victim testified that she lied about the abuse at trial due to bribes and threats from another person. The trial judge denied the MAR, but failed to make sufficient findings of fact resolving the conflicts in the victim’s testimony between the trial and the MAR hearing. The trial court “abused its discretion by failing to expressly find which version of events it believed to be true,” so the matter was remanded with instructions to enter a new order making clear findings. Dissenting as to this part of the decision, J. Bryant would have found that the judge’s order was sufficient, since the defendant had the burden of proof at the hearing and the trial judge made a finding that the defense had not met that burden by stating she was “not satisfied that the testimony given by [A.M.D.] at the trial on this matter in December 2016 was false.”

Show Table of Contents