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., 09/17/2021
E.g., 09/17/2021

In this gang-related case involving charges of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, attempted first-degree murder, and discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling, although the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on their limited use of hearsay statements for corroboration and impeachment only, the error was harmless. Here, at least twice during trial the defendant specifically requested Pattern Jury Instruction 105.20, which limits the jury’s permissible reliance on hearsay statements to corroboration and impeachment purposes only. During the charge conference, the parties and the trial court further agreed that the jury would be charged with this instruction. However, the trial court omitted the instruction from the final charge. By omitting this instruction from the final charge, the trial court erred. However, the defendant failed to demonstrate that there is a reasonable possibility that had the error not been committed a different result would have been reached. The trial court reiterated the instruction, or a close variation of it, six times to the jury throughout the trial. Although the trial court failed to provide the instruction during the final jury charge, the jury was sufficiently advised of the instruction during the trial. Moreover, even if the instructions had not been given during the trial, the defendant cannot show prejudice in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt.

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