State v. Coakley, 238 N.C. App. 480 (Dec. 31, 2014)

In this malicious maiming case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by disjunctively instructing the jury that it could convict him if it found that he had “disabled or put out” the victim’s eye. Relying on cases from other jurisdictions, the court held that the total loss of eyesight, without actual physical removal, is sufficient to support a finding that an eye was “put out” and, therefore, is sufficient to support a conviction for malicious maiming under G.S. 14-30. It went on to reject the defendant’s argument that because the term disabled could have been interpreted as something less than complete blindness, the trial court’s instructions were erroneous. The court reasoned that based on the evidence in the case—it was uncontroverted that the victim completely lost his eyesight because of the defendant’s actions—the jury could not have concluded that the term disabled meant something other than complete blindness. Thus, the court concluded that it need not decide whether partial or temporary blindness constitutes malicious maiming under the statute.