State v. Shannon, 230 N.C. App. 583 (Nov. 19, 2013)

Over a dissent, the court extended G.S. 14-226(a) (intimidating witnesses) to apply to a person who was merely a prospective witness. The local DSS filed a juvenile petition against the defendant and obtained custody of his daughter. As part of that case, the defendant was referred to the victim for counseling. The defendant appeared at the victim’s office, upset about a letter she had written to DSS about his treatment. The defendant grabbed the victim’s forearm to stop her and stated, in a loud and aggravated tone, that he needed to speak with her. The defendant asked the victim to write a new letter stating that he did not require the recommended treatment; when the victim declined to do so, the defendant “became very loud.” The victim testified, among other things, that every time she wrote a letter to DSS, she was “opening [her]self up to have to testify” in court. The court found the evidence sufficient to establish that the victim was a prospective witness and thus covered by the statute.

There was dissenting opinion in this case.