Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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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., 09/26/2021
E.g., 09/26/2021

In this robbery case, the defendant’s due process rights were not violated. The defendant asserted that a due process violation occurred when an accomplice was compelled to appear at trial as a witness for the State. Specifically, the defendant asserted that the prosecutor improperly coerced the accomplice into testifying by threatening to charge her with obstruction of justice if she refused to testify and by telling the accomplice that she would make inquiries about the accomplice possibly having visitation with her son if she testified for the State. Because the issue was not raised at trial, it was waived. However even if it was properly presented, it would fail. The court noted that the defendant did not argue that he intended to call the accomplice as a defense witness but was prevented from doing so by the State. Furthermore, the circumstances surrounding the accomplice’s agreement to testify did not result in the accomplice testifying more favorably for the State than she otherwise would have. To the contrary, the record makes clear that her testimony was largely unhelpful to the State.

State v. Diaz, ___ N.C. App. ___, 808 S.E.2d 450 (Nov. 21, 2017) aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Aug 16 2019)

In a case where the defendant was found guilty of abduction of a child, statutory rape and second-degree sexual exploitation, the trial court rejected the defendant’s argument that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated when the State admitted into evidence his affidavit of indigency, which indicated that he was under a secured bond of $500,000 which had not been posted. Specifically, the defendant argued he was prejudiced by the jurors knowing that he was in custody and that the information on the affidavit violated the presumption of innocence. The court held that even if the jurors had inferred that the defendant was in custody and unable to pay the bond, his right to a fair trial was not violated. It noted that although there was some evidence that the defendant was in custody, he was not shackled or handcuffed in the courtroom. 

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