State v. Reed, 371 N.C. 106 (May. 11, 2018)

In case where the defendant was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the court reversed the opinion below, ___ N.C. App. ___, 789 S.E.2d 703 (2016), for the reasons stated in the dissent. The case involved the drowning of a child under the defendant’s supervision. Over a dissent, a majority of the Court of Appeals held that the State’s jury argument regarding 404(b) evidence involving the drowning of another child in the defendant’s care “amounted to plain error.” The dissenting judge rejected the contention that the trial court erred by failing to intervene ex mero motu to this argument, arguing that plain error was not the appropriate standard of review with respect to jury argument that fails to provoke a timely objection. Applying the gross impropriety standard, the dissenting judge found no error.