Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


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., 02/28/2024
E.g., 02/28/2024
State v. Huey, 370 N.C. 174 (Sept. 29, 2017)

Reversing a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals in this murder case, the court held that while certain statements made by the prosecutor in his closing argument were improper, the arguments did not amount to prejudicial error. The ADA opened closing arguments by saying “Innocent men don’t...

In this murder case, the prosecutor’s statement that the defendant “can’t keep her knees together or her mouth shut” was “improperly abusive.” The defendant was charged with murdering her husband, and the State’s evidence indicated that she was having an affair with her therapist. However, the...

Where the defendant opened the door to the credibility of a defense witness, the prosecutor’s possibly improper comments regarding the witness’s credibility were not so grossly improper as to require intervention by the trial court ex mero motu. Among other things, the prosecutor stated: “that...

Although reversing on other grounds, the court characterized the prosecutor’s closing argument as “grossly improper.” The prosecutor repeatedly engaged in abusive name-calling of the defendant and expressed his opinion that defendant was a liar and was guilty. The entire tenor of the prosecutor’...

The prosecutor’s characterization of the defendant’s statements as lies, while “clearly improper,” did not require reversal. The court noted that the trial court’s admonition to the prosecutor not to so characterize the defendant’s statements neutralized the improper argument.

The trial court did not err by failing to intervene ex mero motu when, in closing argument, the prosecutor suggested that the defendant was lying. The comments were not so grossly improper as to constitute reversible error.

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