State v. Hinton, 226 N.C. App. 108 (Mar. 19, 2013)

In an attempted murder and assault case, the trial court committed plain error by allowing an officer to testify about gangs and gang-related activity where the evidence was not relevant to guilt or to the aggravating factor that the crimes were gang-related. The State’s theory was that the defendant attacked the victim because he was having a sexual relationship with the defendant’s aunt, not because of gang activity. Thus, gang evidence “was neither relevant to the alleged criminal act nor to the aggravating factor of which the State had given notice of its intent to show.” Additionally, the testimony carried the danger of unfair prejudice that substantially outweighed its non-existent probative value under Rule 403.