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., 09/25/2021
E.g., 09/25/2021

In this neglect of an elder adult case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence that she was her elderly mother’s “caretaker” as that word is defined by G.S. 14-32.3(d)(1), and the trial court did not commit plain error by allowing a video of the defendant’s mother to be played for the jury.  Despite the defendant’s argument that she and her mother, who lived at the defendant’s house, did not have a “close relationship” and were “more like roommates” and testimony describing the mother as a “very private person [who] liked to keep to herself,” the court found the State’s evidence sufficient to send the question of the defendant’s caretaker status to the jury.  This evidence included that in her mother’s final weeks of life the defendant helped her bathe; purchased food and supplies for her; assisted her in paying her bills; helped with “general normal care, daily things;” and purchased life insurance on her behalf and at her request.

The court went on to determine that the trial court did not commit plain error by admitting a video of a police interview with the defendant’s mother to be played for the jury.  The defendant argued that her mother’s statements in that video, which went to the issue of whether the defendant was her caretaker, were inadmissible hearsay.  The court found that admission of the video, even if error, was not prejudicial because the State’s other evidence was adequate to prove that the defendant was her mother’s caretaker.

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