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., 06/17/2022
E.g., 06/17/2022

In this murder case resulting in a death sentence, the Court held that the trial court committed clear error in concluding that the State’s peremptory strike of a black prospective juror was not motivated in substantial part by discriminatory intent.  The defendant Flowers, who is black,...

The Court reversed this capital murder case, finding that the State’s “[t]wo peremptory strikes on the basis of race are two more than the Constitution allows.” The defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in a Georgia court. Jury selection proceeded in two phases:...

Thaler v. Haynes, 559 U.S. 43 (Feb. 22, 2010)

When an explanation for a peremptory challenge is based on a prospective juror’s demeanor, the trial judge should consider, among other things, any observations the judge made of the prospective juror’s demeanor during the voir dire. However, no previous decisions of the Court have held that a...

Rivera v. Illinois, 556 U.S. 148 (Mar. 31, 2009)

During a state murder trial, the defendant was denied the opportunity to exercise a peremptory challenge against a female juror because the trial judge erroneously, but in good faith, believed that the defendant’s use of a peremptory challenge violated Batson. The Due Process Clause...

The defendant was tried for armed robbery and possession of firearm by felon in Wake County. When the prosecution struck two Black jurors from the panel, defense counsel made a Batson challenge. The prosecution argued the strikes were based on the jurors’ body language and failure to...

State v. Bennett, 374 N.C. 579 (June 5, 2020)

The defendant was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and multiple drug crimes including drug trafficking. During jury selection, the State peremptorily challenged two potential jurors who were black before accepting a white juror. The defendant made a...

State v. Hobbs, 374 N.C. 345 (May. 1, 2020)

The defendant was tried capitally in Cumberland County and convicted of first-degree murder (among other offenses). On appeal, he argued the trial court erred in denying his Batson challenges to three peremptory strikes used by the State against black jurors during jury selection. The...

State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (Nov. 5, 2010)

The trial court did not err in denying a capital defendant’s Batson challenge when the defendant failed to established a prima facie case that the prosecutor’s use of a peremptory challenge against Juror Rogers, an African-American female, was motivated by race. Because Ms. Rogers was...

The defendant was convicted at trial of trafficking and other drug offenses in Sampson County. During voir dire, defense counsel made a Batson objection to the prosecutor’s peremptory strikes of two Black jurors. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the defendant had not made...

(1) The defendant, on trial for multiple drug charges, challenged the prosecutor’s peremptory strike of the only Black juror in the venire under Batson v. Kentucky. The trial court overruled the defendant’s objection, finding that although the “100 percent rejection...

State v. Hood, 273 N.C. App. 348 (Sept. 1, 2020)

In a first-degree felony murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to strike the initial jury panel and the Court of Appeals remanded the case to the trial court for a proper Batson hearing consistent with State v. Hobbs, 374 N.C. 345 (...

This case involves a first-degree murder conviction previously upheld by the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 838 S.E.2d 660 (2020), back before the court for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in State v. Hobbs...

In this first-degree murder case, defense counsel objected to the State’s use of peremptory challenges to strike three African American prospective jurors. The trial court denied defense counsel’s Batson challenge, finding that the defendant had not established a prima facie ...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s Batson challenges in this capital case. The two victims and the eyewitness were Palestinian and the defendant was black. The State exercised a peremptory strike against Juror 2, a black male. When questioned about the death penalty...

State v. Hurd, 246 N.C. App. 281 (Mar. 15, 2016)

In this capital murder case involving an African American defendant and victims, the trial court did not err by sustaining the State’s reverse Batson challenge. The defendant exercised 11 peremptory challenges, 10 against white and Hispanic jurors. The only black juror that the...

The trial court did not err by dismissing the defendant’s Batson objection. The prosecutor’s explanation for its peremptory challenge to the black juror was that she was unemployed and that the prosecutor recognized the juror’s name, possibly from a prior domestic violence case. The...

The trial court did not err by failing to conduct a Batson hearing where the defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. At the time the defendant objected, the State's acceptance rate, excluding jurors dismissed for cause, was 25% for African Americans, and 80%...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State used six of its peremptory challenges to excuse prospective African-American jurors in violation of Batson. At a Batson hearing, the State offered race-neutral explanations as to why it excused each juror, including...

The trial court did not err by rejecting the defendant’s Batson challenge as to two black jurors. The prosecutor's explanation with respect to both jurors included the fact that both had a close family member who was incarcerated and had not been "treated fairly." The court rejected the...

The trial court did not err by overruling the defendant’s Batson objection to the State’s peremptory challenge of an African-American juror. The defendant, who is African-American, was tried for murder. In response to the defendant’s Batson objection, the prosecutor explained...

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