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.

Instructions

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E.g., 12/06/2022
E.g., 12/06/2022

The defendant was indicted for assault on a female, habitual misdemeanor assault, and attaining habitual felon status. Following the presentation of the evidence at trial, the trial court instructed the jury on the charges of assault on a female and habitual misdemeanor assault. During the...

State v. Berry, 368 N.C. 90 (June 11, 2015)

In this child sexual assault case and for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the supreme court reversed State v. Berry, 235 N.C. App. 496 (2014), which had held that the trial court did not...

In this Edgecombe County case, two defendants, Defendant W and Defendant P, were jointly tried, and appealed their convictions for robbery with a dangerous weapon and felon in possession of a firearm. The Court of Appeals found no prejudicial error for either defendant and affirmed the...

The defendant was convicted at trial of trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell or deliver synthetic cannabinoids, and other various drug offenses in in Brunswick County. (1) During its instructions to the jury, the trial court stated that the jury should determine the guilt or...

In this robbery case where the defendant was punished as a habitual felon, (1) the defendant failed to preserve a fatal variance argument; (2) there was insufficient evidence of attempted armed robbery; (3) assuming without deciding that the trial court expressed its opinion in violation of G.S...

The trial court did not impermissibly express an opinion on the evidence in violation of G.S. 15A-1222 by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss in the presence of the jury. At the close of the State’s evidence and outside the presence of the jury, the defendant made a motion to dismiss the...

In this DWI case, the trial court did not impermissibly express an opinion when instructing the jury regarding the admissibility of breath test results. 

In a first-degree murder case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court made an improper judicial comment on his dangerousness in violation G.S. 15A-1222 and -1232. The defendant had argued that the trial court’s decision to order additional security after his mid-trial...

(1) In a statutory rape case, the trial court committed reversible error by expressing an opinion regarding the victim’s age--an element of the offense--when responding to a note from the jury. During deliberations, the jury sent a note asking: “May we please have the date and age of [the victim...

No plain error occurred when the trial court referred to the prosecuting witness as “the victim.” The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a different result should obtain because he asserted self-defense.

State v. Carter, 216 N.C. App. 453 (Nov. 1, 2011) rev’d on other grounds, 366 N.C. 496 (Apr 12 2013)

In a child sexual assault case, the trial court did not commit plain error by impermissibly expressing an opinion when it described the child as the “victim” in its jury instructions.

The trial court did not commit prejudicial error in violation of G.S. 15A-1222 (judge may not express an opinion) by laughing in the presence of the jury upon hearing a witness’s testimony that defendant “ran like a bitch all the way, way down past his house.” The court concluded that “[a]...

The trial court did not err by using the word “victim” in the jury charge in a child sex offense case.

The trial judge impermissibly expressed an opinion during the defendant’s testimony that tended to discredit the defense theory and required a new trial. In this drug case, the defense’s principal theory was that the defendant did not possess the controlled substance and paraphernalia because...

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