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., 09/21/2021
E.g., 09/21/2021

The defendant pled guilty to controlled substance offenses pursuant to a bill of information and waiver of indictment. In an MAR, the defendant argued that the pleadings were defective and the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the waiver of indictment was not signed by his attorney. The trial court denied the MAR, finding that the pleadings substantially complied with the statute, but the appellate court reversed and remanded with instructions to grant the MAR and vacate the judgment. The requirements listed in G.S. 15A-642 for a waiver of indictment, including the signature of the defendant’s attorney, are mandatory. Therefore, the waiver in this case was “invalid without Defendant’s attorney’s signature, depriving the trial court of jurisdiction to accept Defendant’s guilty plea and enter judgment.”

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief alleging that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter judgment where the defendant was charged with a bill of information that did not include or attach a waiver of indictment. G.S. 15A-642 allows for the waiver of indictment in non-capital cases where a defendant is represented by counsel. The statute further requires: “Waiver of Indictment must be in writing and signed by the defendant and his attorney. The waiver must be attached to or executed upon the bill of information.” G.S. 15A-642(c). The court rejected the State’s argument that the statute’s requirements about waiver of indictment were not jurisdictional.

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