Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

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This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

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E.g., 10/22/2021
E.g., 10/22/2021
Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 U.S. 335 (Jan. 26, 2009)

Supervisory prosecutors were entitled to absolute immunity in connection with the plaintiff’s claims that prosecutors failed to disclose impeachment material due to the failure to train prosecutors, failure to supervise prosecutors, or failure to establish an information system in the district...

State v. Lane, 365 N.C. 7 (Mar. 11, 2011)

In a capital murder case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding expert testimony by a neuropharmacologist and research scientist who studies the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain, proffered by the defense as relevant to the jury’s determination of the reliability of...

State v. Williams, 362 N.C. 628 (Dec. 12, 2008)

The trial judge properly dismissed a charge of felony assault on a government officer under G.S. 15A-954(a)(4) where the defendant established that the state flagrantly violated his constitutional rights and irreparably prejudiced preparation of the defense. The state willfully destroyed...

The defendant met his former girlfriend and new boyfriend, the victim in the case, at a bar. The defendant asked the victim to step outside to talk. During the exchange, the victim told the defendant to hit him. (According to the concurrence, the victim said, “If you want to hit me, hit me...

In this Union County case, the defendant appealed convictions for methamphetamine trafficking and maintaining a vehicle for keeping or selling drugs (among others). An officer in Wadesboro observed the defendant’s car at a “known drug house” and alerted a county deputy about the suspect vehicle...

The defendant was cited for misdemeanor driving while impaired on November 27, 2016. His attorney requested discovery in July 2017, specifically asking for dash cam and body camera footage. The defendant was subsequently indicted for habitual impaired driving and other traffic offenses based on...

In this drug trafficking case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss all charges due to the State’s failure to preserve and disclose a blank audio recording of a conversation between an accomplice and the defendant. After the accomplice Stanley was discovered...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion for sanctions for failure to preserve and disclose a blank recording of an arranged call between an informant and the defendant. Under the discovery statutes, officer Moody should have documented his...

The trial court did not err by failing to provide a jury instruction with respect to the audio recording. The court noted that in State v. Nance, 157 N.C. App. 434 (2003), it held that the trial court did not err by declining to give a special instruction requested by the defendant concerning...

State v. Bacon, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 402 (July 18, 2017) temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 802 S.E.2d 460 (Aug 4 2017)

In this felony larceny case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the defendant’s witness as a sanction for the defendant’s violation of discovery rules, specifically, the defendant’s failure to timely file notice that he intended to call the witness as an alibi witness...

(1) In this murder case, the trial court did not err by excluding the testimony of a defense psychiatrist on the basis that the witness’s proffered testimony constituted expert opinion testimony that had not been disclosed pursuant to a reciprocal discovery order. The witness, Dr. Badri Hamra,...

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by permitting certain testimony by the State’s experts because of a discovery violation. The experts included Blair Cobb, a licensed clinical social worker and pediatric therapist who...

In this methamphetamine case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for discovery sanctions after the State destroyed evidence seized from the defendant’s home, without an order authorizing destruction, and despite a court order that the evidence be...

In a delivery of cocaine case the trial court abused its discretion by denying the defendant’s request for an entrapment instruction as a sanction under G.S. 15A-910(a) for failure to provide "specific information as to the nature and extent of the defense" as required by G.S. 15A-905(c)(1)(b)....

Although the State had a right to appeal the trial court’s order dismissing charges because of a discovery violation, it had no right to appeal the trial court’s order precluding testimony from two witnesses as a sanction for a discovery violation. 

(1) In this murder case, the trial court abused its discretion by excluding, as a discovery sanction, testimony by defense expert Masucci. The defendant offered Masucci after the trial court precluded the original defense expert, Ward, from testifying that incriminating computer files had been...

The trial court did not err by failing to grant the defendant a new trial on his MAR where the State failed to disclose in discovery more than 1,800 pages of material to which the defendant was entitled. The court was unable to conclude that but for the nondisclosure a different result would...

The trial court erred by ordering suppression as a sanction for the State’s failure to document and disclose various communications between agencies and individuals involved in the investigation. The court began by noting that G.S. 15A-903 requires production of already existing documents; it...

The trial court erred by dismissing with prejudice murder charges as a sanction for discovery violations where the record did not reveal a basis for the determination that dismissal was an appropriate sanction. Additionally, because the defendant actually received before trial the evidence the...

(1) The trial court erred by entering a pretrial order dismissing, under G.S. 15A-954(a)(4), murder, child abuse, and sexual assault charges against the defendant. The statute allows a trial court to dismiss charges if it finds that the defendant's constitutional rights have been flagrantly...

In a case in which the State conceded that a translator testified as an expert, the trial court erred by failing to recognize the State’s violation of the discovery rules in G.S. 15A-903(a)(2). However, on the facts presented, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to exclude...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial on grounds that the State failed to provide the defendant with additional discovery after a meeting with co-defendant William Brown gleaned new information. After recognizing potential discovery...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on voluntary manslaughter based on imperfect self-defense where, among other things, the State filed a motion requesting that the defendant provide voluntary discovery outlining the defenses he intended to...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial on grounds that the State failed to provide the defendant with additional discovery after a meeting with co-defendant William Brown gleaned new information. After recognizing potential discovery...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion to continue because of the State’s alleged discovery violation. Although the State provided the defendant with a copy the robbery victim’s pre-trial written statement and a composite sketch of the perpetrator based on...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by granting a recess instead of dismissing the charges or barring admission of the defendant’s statement to the police, when that statement was not provided to the defense until the second day of trial in violation of the criminal discovery rules....

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion to bar the State from introducing forensic evidence related to his vehicle where the police impounded his vehicle during the investigation, but subsequently lost it. The State’s evidence suggested that soil from the...

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