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., 06/24/2024
E.g., 06/24/2024

The Court held that when a criminal conviction is invalidated by a reviewing court and no retrial will occur, is the State obliged to refund fees, court costs, and restitution exacted from the defendant upon, and as a consequence of, the conviction. Absent conviction of a crime, one is presumed innocent. Under the Colorado law in question, the State retains conviction-related assessments unless and until the prevailing defendant institutes a discrete civil proceeding and proves her innocence by clear and convincing evidence. The Court held that this scheme offends the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process. It concluded: “To comport with due process, a State may not impose anything more than minimal procedures on the refund of exactions dependent upon a conviction subsequently invalidated.”

In this Rowan County case, defendant appealed a civil judgment for attorney’s fees imposed on him after a trial and conviction for assault on a detention employee inflicting physical injury. The Court of Appeals found error and vacated the civil judgment, remanding for proceedings to allow defendant to be heard on the issue of attorney’s fees. 

After the trial against defendant for the assault against a detention employee, appointed defense counsel raised the issue of fees with the court, noting his fee and requesting the court take notice that defendant had been on good behavior. The court did not inquire as to whether defendant wanted to be heard regarding the issue of attorney’s fees.

Taking up defendant’s appeal, the Court of Appeals explained that the trial court should have ensured that defendant was given an opportunity to be heard on the issue of attorney’s fees, and pointed to State v. Friend, 257 N.C. App. 516 (2018), as controlling. Because nothing in the record indicated defendant was given notice of the attorney’s fees issue until the civil judgment was imposed, the court vacated the judgment and remanded. 

Judge Griffin dissented by separate opinion, and would have left the civil judgment in place. 

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