State v. Oldroyd, ___ N.C. ___, 2022-NCSC-27 (Mar. 11, 2022)

In this Yadkin County case, a defendant pled guilty to second-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon in 2013. The defendant filed a motion for appropriate relief asserting that the indictment for the attempted robbery charge was fatally defective in that it did not include the name of a victim, but rather described the victims as “employees of the Huddle House” located at a particular address. The trial court denied the motion. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals agreed with the defendant. State v. Oldroyd, 271 N.C. App. 544 (2020). The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, concluding that the indictment sufficiently informed the defendant of the crime he was accused of and protected him from being twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. The Court rejected the defendant’s argument, based on cases decided before the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1975, that indictments for crimes against a person must “state with exactitude” the name of a person against whom the offense was committed. The Court also distinguished prior cases finding indictments defective when they named the wrong victim or did not name any victim at all. Under the modern requirements of G.S. 15A-924(a)(5), the Court concluded that the attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon charge here was not defective. Therefore, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the trial court order denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief.