State v. Towe, 210 N.C. App. 430 (Mar. 15, 2011)

aff'd on other grounds, 366 N.C. 56 (Jun. 14, 2012)

Remanding for other reasons, the court admonished the trial court to carefully determine the materiality of each purpose for which 404(b) evidence is offered. The trial court had remarked that the incidents could show motive, identity, and common plan or scheme. The court noted: “admission of this evidence was clearly problematic in at least one respect: the trial court failed to determine whether the purposes for which the evidence was offered were at issue.” The court clarified that the defendant’s identity is not at issue when the case hinges on whether the alleged crime occurred, but it may be at issue when the defendant contends someone else committed the alleged crime. Motive is at issue, it explained, when a defendant denies committing the crime charged.