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

(1) On appeal from a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. ___, 818 S.E.2d 324 (2018), the court, over a dissent, reversed the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to send a charge of disorderly conduct, based upon the juvenile’s act of throwing a chair in a school cafeteria, to the jury.  The court first addressed the question of whether the juvenile delinquency petition sufficiently alleged a violation of G.S. 14-288.4.  Finding that the State followed the “true and safe rule” by substantially employing the terminology of the statute in the petition, the court found it sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction to the district court.  Though the petition did not specifically cite the subdivision of the statute that the juvenile was alleged to have violated, the court found that the petition’s allegation that the juvenile had thrown a chair toward another student “averred that the juvenile was delinquent for a violation of [G.S. 14-288.4(a)(1)].”  Subsection (a)(1) describes a form of disorderly conduct that occurs when a person “engages in fighting or other violent conduct or in conduct creating the threat of imminent fighting or other violence.” 

(2) Having found the petition sufficient, the court went on to conclude that evidence that the juvenile threw a chair at his brother across the cafeteria where other students were present, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, was substantial evidence that the juvenile “engag[ed] in violent conduct” in violation of the statute.

A dissenting judge said that the evidence could “fairly be said to raise a suspicion that [the juvenile] engaged in violent conduct, but no more than a suspicion.”  The dissenting judge would have held that the evidence was insufficient to send the charge to the jury.

In a case where a juvenile was found to be delinquent based on the offense of injury to personal property with respect to a school printer, the trial court did not err by denying the juvenile’s motion to dismiss. The petition alleged that the juvenile damaged a printer owned by the “Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education[.]” The juvenile argued that the trial court erred by denying the motion to dismiss because the petition failed to allege that the school was an entity capable of owning property and that the evidence at trial did not prove who owned the printer. The court held that because the juvenile conceded the fact that the school was an entity capable of owning property and the State presented evidence that the school owned the printer, the trial court did not err by denying the motion. The court noted that the juvenile’s counsel expressly acknowledged to the trial court that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education is an entity capable of owning property. The court also noted that because the juvenile did not contest this issue at trial, it could not be raised for the first time on appeal. As to the evidence, the State presented a witness who testified to ownership of the printer. A concurring judge recognized that with respect to the petition’s failure to plead that the owner was an entity capable of owning property, had the pleading been an indictment, the issue could be raised for the first time on appeal. However, the concurring judge concluded that the owner’s capability of owning property does not need have been pleaded in a petition with the same specificity as in an indictment.

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