State v. Williams, 226 N.C. App. 393 (Apr. 2, 2013)

The trial court committed plain error by instructing the jury on the crime of stalking under the new stalking statute, G.S. 14-277.3A, when the charged course of conduct occurred both before and after enactment of the new statute. The new version of the stalking statute lessened the burden on the State. The court noted that where, as here, a defendant is indicted for a continuing conduct offense that began prior to a statutory modification that disadvantages the defendant and the indictment tracks the new statute’s disadvantageous language, the question of whether the violation extended beyond the effective date of the statute is one that must be resolved by the jury through a special verdict. Here, the trial court’s failure to give such a special verdict was plain error.