Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

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

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 11/30/2022
E.g., 11/30/2022

Nothing in U.S. Supreme Court precedent clearly establishes a rule that the Fifth Amendment requires a trial judge in a capital case to give the penalty phase jury an instruction that they should draw no adverse inferences from the defendant’s failure to testify. The Kentucky Supreme Court’s...

In this Rockingham County case, the Supreme Court modified and affirmed the Court of Appeals decision that defendant had waived appellate review of the denial of his request for a self-defense instruction to the jury. 

In March of 2017, defendant and the mother of one of his sons had an...

In this Davidson County case, the defendant was convicted after a jury trial of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon after he shot and killed a man who was visiting his home. The trial judge rejected the defendant’s request for an instruction under N.C.P.I.—Crim. 308....

Even if the trial court erred by declining to instruct the jury using the defendant’s requested modified self-defense instruction, the defendant did not demonstrate that any such error was prejudicial.  Testimony at trial described alternate versions of events that ultimately culminated in...

The defendant was tried for possession of a firearm by a felon, first-degree kidnapping, burglary, DVPO violations with a deadly weapon, first-degree rape and first-degree forcible sexual offense arising from the violent kidnapping and rape of his former girlfriend.

(1)...

The State’s evidence tended to show that the defendant was driving a van with a trailer attached behind it when he cut off two motorcycles, made rude gestures, and caused one of the motorcycles to crash. The driver of the motorcycle sustained serious injuries and a passenger died as a result of...

State v. Steen, 376 N.C. 469 (Dec. 18, 2020)

The defendant appealed from his conviction for the first-degree murder of his grandfather based on the felony murder rule using the attempted murder of his mother with a deadly weapon as the predicate felony. The trial court instructed the jury that it could find the defendant guilty of...

State v. Glover, 376 N.C. 420 (Dec. 18, 2020)

Officers investigating complaints of drug activity at a home where the defendant lived with several others discovered methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine in a small yellow tin in a dresser in the alcove near defendant’s bedroom, an area that the defendant claimed as his personal space....

State v. Pabon, 273 N.C.App. 645, 850 S.E.2d 512 (Oct. 6, 2020) modified and affirmed on other grounds, 2022-NCSC-16, 867 S.E.2d 632 (Feb 11 2022)

In this Cabarrus County case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape. After developing a friendship with the victim, he drugged her without her knowledge, took her to a friend’s house and raped her. The defendant appealed, raising numerous challenges.

...
State v. Greenfield, 375 N.C. 434 (Sept. 25, 2020)

In this felony murder case based on the underlying felony of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, the trial court erred by not instructing the jury on self-defense and the doctrine of transferred intent.  The evidence at trial showed that the defendant and...

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision below, 259 N.C. App. 127 (2018), the court reversed the Court of Appeals and held that appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to cite a particular line of cases because the facts of this case were distinguishable from those in the line...

State v. Coley, 375 N.C. 156 (Aug. 14, 2020)

The defendant was indicted for attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and possession of a firearm by a felon. On June 7, 2016, the defendant was sitting outside of a neighbor’s house with a group of friends when the defendant’s...

In this Moore County case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree rape and sex offense, crime against nature, possession of firearm by felon, communicating threats and various assaults stemming from attacks on his estranged then-wife. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court...

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...

State v. Mercer, 373 N.C. 459 (Feb. 28, 2020)

Confronting a question of first impression, the court held that “in narrow and extraordinary circumstances” the common law defense of justification may be an affirmative defense to a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon under G.S. 14-415.1.  Noting that justification is an affirmative...

State v. Alonzo, 373 N.C. 437 (Feb. 28, 2020)

Contrary to the conclusion of the Court of Appeals below, the trial court did not err in this felony child abuse case under G.S. 14-318.4 by failing to instruct the jury that the term “sexual act” for purposes of the offense is the definition provided for the term in what is now Article 7B...

(1) At his trial for habitual DWI, the defendant took the stand, denied driving, and admitted his prior DWI convictions in explaining why he did not drive on the night in question and why, based on his past interactions with law enforcement, he did not speak to the arresting officers. On cross-...

During cross-examination of the complaining witness in a case involving a charge of assault on a female, the defendant began a line of questions to which the State objected. The trial judge excused the jury and conducted a voir dire, during which the defendant’s counsel demonstrated the proposed...

In this Duplin County case, the defendant was convicted by a jury of financial card fraud, obtaining property by false pretenses, identity theft, and habitual felon. She appealed, arguing that her motion to dismiss for insufficiency of the evidence should have been granted as to the identity...

In this sex offense and indecent liberties case, the court held: (1) a sex offense indictment that identified the child victim as “Victim #1” was fatally defective; (2) the trial court’s erroneous failure to conduct a jury instruction conference prior to submitting the existence of a statutory...

In a 5-to-1 decision, the Court affirmed the decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 500 (2018) (unpublished), finding that the trial court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense or imperfect self-defense in the stabbing death of...

On writ of certiorari from a divided decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 811 S.E.2d 215 (2018), the court held that the trial court’s decision to include an “aggressor” instruction in its self-defense instructions did not constitute plain error. The trial court, without any...

State v. Malachi, 371 N.C. 719 (Dec. 7, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 799 S.E.2d 645 (2017), in this felon in possession of a firearm case, the court reversed, holding that though the trial court erred in its jury instructions with respect to possession of a firearm, the...

State v. Fowler, 371 N.C. 718 (Dec. 7, 2018)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 800 S.E.2d 724 (2017), the court, in a per curiam opinion, vacated and remanded to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of State v. Malachi, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (2018). In this...

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. Bass, 371 N.C. 535 (Oct. 26, 2018)

On appeal from a decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 802 S.E.2d 477 (2017), the court affirmed, holding that the trial court committed prejudicial error by omitting stand-your-ground language from the self-defense jury instructions. The incident in question...

In this capital case the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred in the guilt phase by instructing the jury that it could find the defendant guilty of sexual offense if it found either vaginal or anal penetration where the State failed to present any evidence of anal...

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 789 S.E.2d 679 (2016), the court reversed because of errors in the jury instructions on self-defense. At trial, the parties agreed to the delivery of N.C.P.I.–Crim. 206.10, the pattern instruction on...

State v. Cook, 370 N.C. 506 (Mar. 2, 2018)

The court per curiam affirmed a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 802 S.E.2d 575 (2017). In this assault on a law enforcement officer case, the court of appeals held, over a dissent, that the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a self-defense...

In a footnote, the court “urge[d]” the trial courts to define all relevant terms in its jury instructions and avoid the situation that occurred here, where the trial court declined to define the relevant term and allowed counsel to argue definitions of the term to the jury. 

State v. Godwin, 369 N.C. 604 (June 9, 2017)

In this DWI case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a special jury instruction explaining that results of a chemical breath test are not conclusive evidence of impairment. Following the pattern jury instructions for DWI, the trial court explained to the jury that...

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that the trial court’s self-defense instructions were not erroneous. The court began by considering whether “North Carolina law allows an aggressor to regain the right to utilize defensive force based upon the nature and extent of the...

State v. Juarez, 369 N.C. 351 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals in this first-degree felony murder case, the court held that the trial court did not commit reversible error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offenses of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. The underlying felony for first-degree...

State v. Juarez, 369 N.C. 351 (Dec. 21, 2016)

Reversing the Court of Appeals in this first-degree felony murder case, the court held that the trial court did not commit reversible error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offenses of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. The underlying felony for first-degree...

State v. Edgerton, 368 N.C. 32 (Apr. 10, 2015)

In a case where the defendant was found guilty of violation of a DVPO with a deadly weapon, the court per curiam reversed and remanded for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below. In the decision below, State v....

State v. Stepp, 367 N.C. 772 (Jan. 23, 2015)

(per curiam). For reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the court reversed the court of appeals. In the decision below, State v. Stepp, __ N.C. App. __, 753 S.E.2d 485 (Jan. 21, 2014), the majority held that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the...

State v Walston, 367 N.C. 721 (Dec. 19, 2014)

Based on long-standing precedent, the trial court’s use of the term “victim” in the jury instructions was not impermissible commentary on a disputed issue of fact and the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request to use the words “alleged victim” instead of “victim” in the jury...

State v. Grainger, 367 N.C. 696 (Dec. 19, 2014)

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on accessory before the fact. Because the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder under theories of both premeditation and deliberation and the felony murder rule and the defendant’s...

State v. Boyd, 366 N.C. 548 (June 13, 2013)

For the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion below, the court reversed State v. Boyd, 222 N.C. App. 160 (Aug. 7, 2012), and held that no plain error occurred in a kidnapping case. In the decision below, the court of appeals held, over a dissent, that the trial court committed plain...

State v. Carter, 366 N.C. 496 (Apr. 12, 2013)

The court reversed the decision below in State v. Carter,216 N.C. App. 453 (Nov. 1, 2011) (in a child sexual offense case, the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct on attempted sexual offense where the evidence of penetration was conflicting), concluding that the...

State v. Smith, 362 N.C. 583 (Dec. 12, 2008)

When instructing on indecent liberties, the trial judge is not required to specifically identify the acts that constitute the charge.

In this Guilford County case, defendant appealed his convictions for first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, arguing the trial court erred by (1) denying his motions to dismiss, (2) giving an improper jury instruction on deliberation, and (3) failing to give defendant’s...

In this Brunswick County case, defendant appealed his conviction for habitual impaired driving. The Court of Appeals found no error after examining the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress and motion to dismiss, and the jury instruction provided regarding defendant’s flight...

In this Beaufort County case, defendant appealed jury verdicts of guilty for second degree kidnapping and assault on a female. Defendant provided three grounds for appeal, (1) denial of his motion to dismiss the kidnapping charge based upon the State’s failure to offer evidence of intent, (2)...

In this Guilford County case, the defendant and the victim were cousins. They went out for an evening together, each accompanied by a girlfriend. The victim had a history of assaulting his girlfriend, and again that night became enraged and began beating her. The defendant shot the victim twice...

In this Gaston County first-degree murder case, the trial court (1) did not err in instructing the jury that there was sufficient evidence to infer that the defendant intentionally injured the victim; (2) erred by allowing the State to examine the defendant about privileged communications he had...

In this Edgecombe County solicitation to commit murder case, the trial court did not err (1) in resolving the defendant’s request for substitute counsel; (2) by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence; and (3) by declining to intervene ex mero motu in the State’s...

State v. Hicks, ___ N.C. App. ___, 2022-NCCOA-263 (Apr. 19, 2022) temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 871 S.E.2d 538 (May 9 2022)

In this Randolph County case, the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder for an incident in which she killed Caleb Adams, a romantic partner. On the day of the incident, Caleb stormed into her residence while under the influence of methamphetamine and began pushing, punching,...

The defendant lived with his parents in a mobile home trailer in Craven County. The owner of the trailer, Ms. Patterson, lived on the property in a different mobile home and was lifelong friends with the defendant and his parents. Ms. Patterson lived with one of the defendant’s nephews pursuant...

State v. Brichikov, ___ N.C. App. ___, 2022-NCCOA-33 (Jan. 18, 2022) temp. stay granted, 380 N.C. 289, 867 S.E.2d 533 (Feb 4 2022)

In this Wake County murder case, the defendant admitted to having assaulted his wife and she was found with physical trauma to her face. She also had cocaine and fentanyl in her blood, had recently overdosed, and had a serious heart condition. There was conflicting evidence at trial on whether...

The defendant was arrested for driving while impaired. At the jail, the defendant provided a breath sample, and his alcohol concentration was reported as 0.09. The defendant pled not guilty to impaired driving in district court. Following a bench trial, the judge found the defendant guilty...

In this armed robbery case, the trial court did not err by failing to designate in its jury instruction the two individuals named in the indictment as the alleged victims.  The defendant was indicted for armed robbery of two boys, Elijah and Shalik, who were specifically identified as victims in...

The defendant was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury for his role in an assault that occurred inside a jail. The defendant and two other inmates assaulted the victim by punching, kicking, and hitting him with a broom. As a result of the assault, the victim...

In this Buncombe County case, the defendant was convicted of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The defendant sold two white rocks to an undercover officer in a parking lot. When the defendant gave the drugs to the officer, he placed them in the officer’s bare hands without any...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss a charge of second-degree kidnapping and did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the confinement theory of kidnapping alleged in the indictment.  The second-degree kidnapping indictment alleged that...

The defendant became abusive and violent toward his romantic partner, D.C., after finding out that she had engaged in an intimate relationship while he was in prison for a year. The defendant forced D.C. to drive him to his cousin’s house, while telling her that she would be having sex...

The defendant was charged and convicted of first-degree felony murder for the attempted robbery and fatal shooting of a taxi cab driver whom the defendant had summoned to his apartment complex. When the taxi cab arrived, witnesses saw a man shoot the driver, drag the driver from his car,...

In this case where the defendant and his neighbor exchanged gunfire after an argument about the victim’s dogs killing the defendant’s cat, the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on self-defense.  In the light most favorable to the defendant, the...

After the defendant’s wife left him due to his drinking and violence, the defendant committed a number of threatening and destructive acts towards her that culminated in the defendant shooting his estranged wife twice in the head outside her work. The victim survived and called 911, and...

In this Sampson County case, the defendant was convicted of felony fleeing to elude, habitual felon, and habitual impaired driving. The focus of the defendant’s arguments on appeal were on the definition of “motor vehicle” as used in G.S. 20-141.5(a) and G.S. 20-4.01(23) at the time of the...

The defendant was convicted of two counts of sexual offense with a child by an adult, rape of a child, first-degree kidnapping, and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child in Wake County, stemming from the assault of a six-year-old child at a church.

(1) In regard to one of...

State v. Woods, 275 N.C. App. 364 (Dec. 15, 2020) aff’d per curiam, 2022-NCSC-56, ___ N.C. ___ (May 6 2022)

In this Mecklenburg County case, a jury found the defendant guilty of embezzlement of a controlled substance by an employee of a registrant or practitioner under G.S. 90-108(a)(14). While employed as a pharmacy technician at CVS, the defendant accepted $100 in exchange for processing a...

(1) The State and the defendant’s version of events were inconsistent. For purposes of determining the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a jury instruction on justification, the Court of Appeals recounted the defendant’s version of events. The defendant was in David Harrison’s trailer...

The defendant and his longtime friend, Ivy, began dating in 2017. Per Ivy’s clear and constant requests, their sexual contact with each other was limited to kissing and touching above the waist. Whenever the defendant tried to touch her below the waist, she told him to stop.

...

The defendant, a fisherman, was charged with violating marine fisheries regulations after he left gill nets and crab pots unattended for too long. The officer that cited Defendant for these violations used a form citation indicating that the Defendant was being charged with committing...

In this assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury case, the trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on the defendant’s requested instruction on the defense of habitation. The victim was riding on his ATV when the defendant attacked him from behind and stabbed...

The defendant, the former District Attorney for Person and Caldwell Counties, was tried for obtaining property by false pretenses, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, aiding and abetting obtaining property by false pretenses, three counts of obstruction of justice, and failure to...

The defendant was convicted at trial of impersonating an officer and possession of a weapon of mass destruction (flashbang grenades) in Onslow County. On appeal, the Court of Appeals determined that flashbang grenades did not qualify as a weapon of mass destruction and vacated that conviction....

In this Lincoln County case, the defendant stole a car left running outside of a gas station. A three-year old child was in the backseat. Once officers attempted to stop the car, the defendant led police on a high-speed chase and ultimately crashed. The child was not harmed. During the chase,...

The defendant was convicted of indecent liberties with a child and felony child abuse by sexual act based on crimes committed against his daughter and stepdaughter. 

(1) The court of appeals determined that the trial court did not plainly err in instructing the jury on felonious child...

The defendant was convicted of accessory after the fact to a felony and felony obstruction of justice in Cleveland County relating to her efforts to assist a murder suspect (later convicted of second-degree murder) evade capture. (1) The defendant argued the statutory offense of accessory after...

The defendant was tried in Guilford County on charges of discharging a weapon into occupied property, firearm by felon, first-degree burglary, trafficking cocaine, possession with intent, and two counts of habitual felon. At the charge conference, the defendant requested an instruction on...

The defendant’s sole argument on appeal was that the trial judge violated the statutory mandates of G.S 15A-1231 and 15A-1232 by allowing the clerk to read some of the jury instructions to the jury. The judge had the clerk read the instructions on “(1) the function of the jury; (2) the...

Two men attempted to rob the victim in a McDonald’s parking lot. One of the suspects fired a gun, and both suspects fled. The victim ran to a nearby parking lot, where he found a law enforcement officer. The victim told the officer what had occurred and described the suspects. Two suspects...

The defendant was convicted of trafficking in opium among other crimes. He argued on appeal that the trial court committed plain error when, despite the lack of a request by the defendant, it failed to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of selling hydrocodone. The Court of...

(1) The defendant was indicted for trafficking in MDMA, among other charges. When the case came on for trial, the trial judge called in prospective jurors and questioned them about undue hardships and conflicts with the parties and informed them of the charges against the defendant. The...

The defendant was convicted after a jury trial of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and other serious felony charges after he shot and killed his former girlfriend and then pistol-whipped and fired a gun at another woman, a registered nurse. The court rejected the...

The defendant shot and killed a police officer while the officer was approaching the defendant’s car to serve arrest warrants on him in Robeson County. The defendant claimed that he had been the victim of several recent attempted murders and was “on edge,” so that when he saw the plainclothes...

State v. Graham, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Mar. 17, 2020) aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 2021-NCSC-125 (Oct 29 2021)

The defendant was charged with four counts of engaging in sexual acts against a child under 13 and taking indecent liberties with a child. The defendant was alleged to have touched a child, A.M.D., in sexual manner on several occasions over a period of one to two years. The state’s...

State v. Leaks, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Mar. 3, 2020) modified and affirmed on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 2021-NCSC-123 (Oct 29 2021)

In this second-degree murder case, the trial court (1) did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a jury view; (2) did not err with respect to a jury instruction on self-defense; and (3) correctly sentenced the defendant at prior-record level IV.

The trial court did...

The defendant was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 73 to 100 months in prison for shooting her boyfriend, Timothy Lee Fry, with whom she had lived for approximately three years. The evidence showed that their relationship was good at first but started to deteriorate after...

Defendants Molly Martens Corbett (“Molly”) and Thomas Michael Martens (“Tom”), daughter and father, were convicted of second degree murder in the death of Molly’s husband, Jason Corbett (“Jason”). Evidence at trial established that Tom attempted to stop Jason from choking Molly by hitting Jason...

Two men (“Stroud” and “Bernard”) hosted two young women  (“Jermisha” and “Kendretta”) at Stroud’s home on two occasions. During the second visit, Kendretta experienced a “spell” where she fell down and started kicking, apparently as a result of consuming alcohol and synthetic weed. About an hour...

The defendant was a passenger in a car stopped at a traffic checkpoint. An officer smelled marijuana emanating from the vehicle. The defendant told the officer that the marijuana was located in a bag behind the driver’s seat. The officer found a drawstring bag there, which the defendant said was...

The defendant was convicted by a jury of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury based on an altercation involving the owner of the house at which he had been living. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury on defense of habitation....

The defendant was convicted by a jury of seven sex crimes against a five-year-old victim, including statutory rape of a child by an adult, statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult, and indecent liberties with a child. At trial, the State presented a nurse practitioner who testified...

The trial court did not err in this murder case by declining to include a special jury instruction on specific intent in the final mandate. On the issue of specific intent, the trial judge gave the jury an instruction regarding voluntary intoxication and its effect on specific intent, but did...

The trial court did not err in this murder case by declining to use the defendant’s requested special instruction on deliberation. The defendant also requested a special jury instruction that paraphrased a passage from State v. Buchanan, 287 N.C. 408 (1975) to explain the concept of...

In this assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury case, the trial court properly instructed the jury regarding self-defense.  The defendant was in a physical altercation with another woman, during which she cut the other woman a number of times with a knife.  “Recognizing that a...

In this sexual assault case, no plain error occurred when the trial court referred to the complaining witness as “the victim” in the jury instructions. It is well-settled that when a judge properly places the burden of proof on the State, referring to the complaining witness as “the victim” does...

State v. Copley, ___ N.C. App. ___, 828 S.E.2d 35 (May. 7, 2019) rev’d on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Apr 3 2020)

In this first-degree murder case involving a shooting outside of the defendant’s home where the Court of Appeals opinion was reversed on other grounds, the court noted an error in the trial court’s jury instructions with respect to defense of habitation. Noting a problem in the current pattern...

In this second-degree rape case, the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury that lack of consent was an element of rape of a physically helpless person. Because lack of consent is implied in law for this offense, the trial court was not required to instruct the...

In this assault case, the trial court committed prejudicial error by failing to instruct the jury on self-defense. Aubrey Chapman and his friend Alan McGill attended a party. During the party, the defendant punched McGill in the face. Chapman saw the confrontation and hit the defendant. Security...

In this assault case, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury that it could consider the defendant’s alleged flight as evidence of guilt. The court began: “The probative value of flight evidence has been ‘consistently doubted’” in our legal system, and we note at the outset that we...

(1) The trial court did not err in its obtaining property by false pretenses instructions. The charge arose out of the defendant’s alleged fraud in connection with an insurance claim. The trial court instructed the jury that to find the defendant guilty it must find that he made a representation...

(1) In this first-degree murder case, the trial court did not err by declining to give the defendant’s requested special jury instruction regarding potential bias of a State’s witness. Because the issue involves the trial court’s choice of language in jury instructions, the standard of review...

In a case where the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by failing to submit an instruction on second-degree murder and/or voluntary manslaughter. The defendant argued that the evidence negated premeditation and deliberation. The court disagreed, finding...

In a case where the defendant was found guilty of second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling, the trial court committed prejudicial error by failing to include no duty to retreat and stand your ground provisions in the jury instruction...

In this embezzlement case, the trial court did not commit plain error with respect to the jury instructions. The defendant argued that the trial court committed plain error by instructing the jury on an alternative theory of guilt not supported by the evidence; specifically, by including as an...

In this assault inflicting serious bodily injury case, no plain error occurred with respect to the trial court’s jury instructions defining “serious bodily injury” as to victim E.D. The court noted that while it prefers trial courts to use the Pattern Jury Instructions, an instruction is...

The trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on an exemption to a drug trafficking charge. The defendant argued that he was exempt from prosecution as an “ultimate user” pursuant to G.S. 90-101(c). The statute defines an ultimate user as a person who lawfully possesses a...

Although the trial court properly gave a self-defense instruction in this shooting into an occupied vehicle and injury to personal property case, it erred by failing to give a no duty to retreat instruction. Viewed in the light most favorable to the defendant, the evidence showed that the...

State v. Hobbs, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 779 (July 17, 2018) rev’d on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (May 1 2020)

In this murder and armed robbery case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying defense counsel’s proffered jury instructions. The additional jury instructions requested by the defense all relate to the defendant’s mental and/or emotional condition at the time of the murder and...

In this voluntary manslaughter case, the trial court committed prejudicial error by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on defense of habitation. The trial court denied the defendant’s requested instruction, finding no evidence that the victim was “trying to break in.”...

State v. Gentle, ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 833 (July 3, 2018) aff’d per curiam, ___ N.C. ___, 822 S.E.2d 616 (Feb 1 2019)

In this rape and sex offense case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court committed plain error by instructing the jury that it could find that the victim suffered serious personal injury in the form of mental injury; even if error occurred, it had no probable impact on...

In this burning case, the trial court erred by instructing the jury on flight. Here, the evidence raises no more than suspicion and conjecture that the defendant fled the scene. Moreover, there is no evidence that the defendant took steps to avoid apprehension. The error however was not...

(1) The trial court committed plain error with respect to its jury instructions on obtaining property by false pretenses; the instructions allowed the jury to convict the defendant of a theory not alleged in the indictment. The indictment alleged that the false pretense at issue was the filing a...

State v. Crump, ___ N.C. App. ___, 815 S.E.2d 415 (Apr. 17, 2018) rev’d on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Dec 18 2020)

No prejudicial error occurred with respect to the trial court’s self-defense instructions. With respect to an assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill charge, the defendant raised the statutory justifications of protection of his motor vehicle and self-defense. The trial court found that...

Where there was evidence that the defendant was the aggressor, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on the aggressor doctrine as it relates to self-defense. The court noted that based on the defendant’s own testimony regarding the incident, it was possible for the jury to infer...

In this DWI case, the trial court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on the defense of necessity. The defendant was arrested for DWI while driving a golf cart. The evidence showed that the defendant and his wife used the golf cart on paths connecting their home to a local bar, that he drove...

In this kidnapping case, although the trial court erred by instructing the jury on theories that were not alleged in the indictment, no plain error occurred. After rejecting the State’s argument that the defendant was precluded from plain error review, the court noted that the instruction error...

In a case where the defendant was charged with attempted murder and assault, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury that the defendant could not receive the benefit of self-defense if he was the aggressor. The incident in question involved a shooting; the defendant argued that he...

In this case where the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, the defendant argued that he acted in the heat of passion. The defendant did not testify at...

In this murder case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court should have granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss because the State failed to present substantial evidence that the defendant did not act in self-defense. Ample evidence contradicted the defendant’s claim...

No plain error occurred in this drug case where the trial court instructed the jury that it could convict the defendant if it found that he was in actual or constructive possession of the contraband. Although there was no evidence that the defendant actually possessed the contraband, no plain...

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by providing the jury with written jury instructions on the charge of felonious breaking or entering which conflicted and materially differed from the court’s earlier oral instructions. As a general rule, when there are...

(1) In this habitual misdemeanor larceny case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court created a fatal variance when it instructed the jury on a theory of acting in concert not alleged in the indictment. Citing prior case law, the court held that the theory of acting in...

In this felony-murder case where the underlying felony was discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, the trial court did not err by declining to instruct on self-defense. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a reasonable jury could have found that the shooting constituted...

In this homicide case, the trial court did not commit plain error in its jury instructions on the defense of automatism. The defendant argued that the jury instruction misleadingly implied that he had to prove the defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court’s instructions, which were...

In this homicide case, the trial court did not commit plain error in its jury instructions on the defense of automatism. The defendant argued that the jury instruction misleadingly implied that he had to prove the defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court’s instructions, which were...

The trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. In the context of a shooting, the charge of involuntary manslaughter requires evidence of the absence of intent to discharge the weapon. This fact distinguishes...

State v. Clonts, ___ N.C. App. ____, 802 S.E.2d 531 (June 20, 2017) aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 813 S.E.2d 796 (Jun 8 2018)

The trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on imperfect self-defense and imperfect defense of others where the defendant did not request that the trial court give any instruction on imperfect self-defense or imperfect defense of others. In fact, when the State indicated that it...

In this child sex case, no prejudicial error occurred when the trial court instructed the jury on a sexual act that was not supported by the evidence. The defendant was convicted of four felonies under G.S. 14-27.4(a)(1) (first degree sexual offense with a child) and two felonies under G.S. 14-...

(1) In this impaired driving second-degree murder case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court’s instruction on proximate cause was erroneous and that the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on intervening negligence. The trial court...

In this assault and discharging a firearm into occupied property case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by providing a jury instruction on flight. The defendant fired his weapon at the victims as a vehicle carrying the defendant sped from a gas station. The court rejected the...

In this child abuse case, the trial court committed prejudicial error by giving a flight instruction where there was no evidence upon which a reasonable theory of flight could be based. The court explained: “what the trial court deemed a ‘close call’ in terms of defendant’s alleged flight...

In this child abuse case, the trial court did not err by using the term “handling” to describe the element of intentional assault that was part of the child abuse charge. The trial court’s instruction was sufficient to explain the term assault as it related to the case.

(1) In this case in which the defendant was convicted of felony murder with the underlying felony being child abuse, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request to instruct the jury on premeditated and deliberate murder and all lesser included offenses. There was no evidence...

Where the trial court submitted an instruction on automatism as a defense to a charge of felony child abuse, it was not required to instruct the jury on lesser included child abuse offenses. Automatism is a complete defense to a criminal charge and did not render any of the elements of felonious...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on the testimony of an interested witness (N.C.P.I.-Crim. 104.20), where it gave a different instruction leaving “no doubt that it was the jury’s duty to determine whether the witness was interested or biased...

(1) In this case in which the defendant was convicted of several felonies, including attempted murder, assault with intent to kill, burglary, and numerous attempted sex offenses, the trial court did not err in responding to the deliberating jury’s request that it explain the “legal definition of...

The trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. The trial judge instructed the jury on first- and second-degree murder but declined the defendant’s request for an instruction on voluntary manslaughter. The jury found the defendant guilty of second-degree...

State v. Dale, 245 N.C. App. 497 (Feb. 16, 2016)

The trial court did not commit plain error in instructing the jury on disorderly conduct in a public building or facility where it required the State to prove an element not required by the statute (that the “utterance, gesture or abusive language that was intended and plainly likely to provoke...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a special instruction on sequestration. In closing argument, the prosecutor argued, in part: “[Defendant is] cherry-picking the best parts of everybody’s story after … he’s had the entire trial to listen to what everybody else...

In this rape case, because the evidence was clear and positive and not conflicting with respect to penetration, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct on attempted rape. Here, among other things, a sexual assault nurse testified that the victim told her she was penetrated, the victim...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a special instruction on sequestration. In closing argument, the prosecutor argued, in part: “[Defendant is] cherry-picking the best parts of everybody’s story after … he’s had the entire trial to listen to what everybody else...

State v. Huey, 243 N.C. App. 446 (Oct. 6, 2015) rev’d on other grounds, 370 N.C. 174 (Sep 29 2017)

In this homicide case, the trial court properly instructed the jury on flight where evidence showed...

In this robbery case, no plain error occurred with respect to the trial court’s not guilty mandate. The jury instructions for the offenses of armed and common law robbery conformed to the pattern jury instructions with one exception: the court did not expressly instruct the jury that it had a “...

In this case involving three accomplices and charges of armed robbery, common law robbery and attempted armed robbery, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that he could not have been convicted of attempted armed robbery under the theory of acting in concert because the trial court did...

In an obtaining property by false pretenses case, the trial did not err by failing to specify in the jury instructions the misrepresentation made by defendant or the property the defendant received. Noting that the trial court used the standard pattern jury instruction, N.C.P.I--Crim. 219.10,...

The trial court did not err by instructing the jury that it could consider wounds inflicted after the victim was felled in determining whether the defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation. The trial court instructed the jury:

Neither premeditation nor deliberation...

State v. Davis, 239 N.C. App. 522 (Mar. 3, 2015) modified and affirmed on other grounds, 368 N.C. 794 (Apr 15 2016)

Citing State v. Walston, 367 N.C. 721 (Dec. 19, 2014), the court held in this child sexual assault case that the trial court did not commit reversible error by using the word “victim” in the jury instructions. 

Although the trial court erred by failing to fully comply with the statutory requirements regarding a charge conference at the sentencing phase of this felony child abuse case, no material prejudice resulted. The court noted that G.S. 15A-1231(b) requires the trial court to hold a charge...

In this assault and second-degree murder case, the trial court did not err by refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense and by omitting an instruction on voluntary manslaughter. The court noted that the defendant himself testified that when he fired the gun he did not intend to shoot anyone...

In this assault and second-degree murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is a killing without malice. However, where death results from the intentional use of a firearm or other deadly...

In this child sexual abuse case, the trial court did not err by referring to the victim as the “alleged victim” in its opening remarks to the jury and referring to her as “the victim” in its final jury instructions. The court distinguished State v. Walston, 229 N.C. App. 141 (2013),...

No plain error occurred when the trial court in its preliminary instructions before jury selection referred to reasonable doubt as “fair doubt” but correctly defined that term in its final instructions to the jury.

No plain error occurred in a sexual assault case where the trial court referred to “the victim” in its jury instructions.

No plain error occurred with respect to the trial court’s final mandate to the jury on a first-degree murder charge. The trial court instructed the jury that it could find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder as to victim Frink under the following theories: premeditation and deliberation...

(1) Where the defendant was charged with two counts of felony assault on two separate victims, no error occurred where in its jury instruction the trial court referred to “the victim.” The defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury to consider each offense...

In this felony breaking and entering and larceny case where the victim discovered the defendant in his home, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury regarding flight where the victim testified that when he approached his front door and saw the defendant in his living room, the...

In a child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by refusing the defendant’s request to instruct the jury that it could consider evidence concerning his character for honesty and trustworthiness as substantive evidence of his guilt or innocence. At trial, five witnesses testified that...

(No. COA13-925). For the reasons discussed in the case summarized immediately above, the court held that the trial court did not err by refusing to give a jury instruction requested by the defendant.

(No. COA13-661). The trial court did not err by refusing to instruct the jury about the results of recent research into factors bearing upon the accuracy of eyewitness identification evidence. The eyewitness identification instruction requested by the defendant was eight pages long and strongly...

In a multi-count indecent liberties with a student case, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury using the specific acts alleged in the amended bill of particulars. The trial court properly instructed the jury that it could find the defendant guilty if it concluded that he...

(1) In an involuntary manslaughter case where a death occurred during a high speed chase by a bail bondsman in his efforts to arrest a principal, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury that bail bondsmen cannot violate motor vehicle laws in order to make an arrest. While the statute...

The trial court did not commit plain error by failing to define larceny in instructions it provided to the jury on burglary. Because evidence was presented permitting the inference that the defendants intended to steal property and there was no evidence suggesting that they intended to merely...

In this murder case, the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to submit involuntary manslaughter to the jury. The trial court submitted first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and not guilty to the jury. The jury found the defendant guilty of second-degree...

In this felony-murder case the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request to instruct on second-degree murder. The underlying felony was armed robbery and the defendant’s own testimony established all the elements of that offense.

In this impaired driving case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s requested special jury instruction and instructing instead using Pattern Jury Instruction 270.20A. The special instruction would have informed the jury that the results of the chemical analysis did not create a...

State v. Epps, 231 N.C. App. 584 (Jan. 7, 2014) aff’d, 368 N.C. 1 (Apr 10 2015)

(per curiam). In a first-degree murder case, the court held, over a dissent, that the trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter. The evidence showed that the defendant fought with the victim in the yard. Sometime later the defendant returned to the...

In this child sex case, the trial court did not commit plain error by using the word “victim” in the jury instructions. The court distinguished State v. Walston, 229 N.C. App. 141 (2013) (trial court’s use of the term “victim” in jury instructions was prejudicial error), rev’d...

State v. Lalinde, 231 N.C. App. 308 (Dec. 3, 2013) review granted, 367 N.C. 503 (Jun 11 2014)

Where the evidence showed that part of a child abduction occurred in North Carolina jurisdiction was established and no jury instruction on jurisdiction was required. The defendant took the child from North Carolina to Florida. The court noted that jurisdiction over interstate criminal cases is...

Distinguishing State v. McHone, 174 N.C. App. 289, 294 (2005), the court held that no plain error occurred when the trial court failed to instruct that the jury must return a “not guilty” verdict if it was unable to conclude that the defendant committed first-degree murder on the basis...

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for jury instructions on self-defense and voluntary manslaughter. The defendant’s theory was that the gun went off accidentally. Additionally, there was no evidence that the defendant in fact formed a belief that...

In a rape of a child by an adult case, the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser offense of first-degree rape where there was no dispute that the defendant was at least 18 years of age. 

The trial court did not coerce a verdict by instructing the jurors to continue deliberating after they three times indicated a deadlock. Although the trial court did not give an Allen instruction every time, G.S. 15A-1235 does not require the trial court to do so every time the jury...

In this involuntary manslaughter case, the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury that foreseeability was an essential element of proximate cause. The court noted that foreseeability is an essential element of proximate cause. It further noted that a trial court...

In a case involving two defendants, no plain error occurred where the trial court’s instructions referred to the defendant and his accomplice collectively as “defendants.” The court noted that when two or more defendants are tried jointly for the same offense, a charge that is susceptible to the...

(1) The trial court did not coerce a verdict by giving an Allen charge pursuant to G.S. 15A-1235. The jury sent the judge a note at 3:59 pm, after 70 minutes of deliberations, indicating that they were split 11-to-1 and that the one juror “will not change their mind.” The court rejected...

Where no evidence negated the State’s proof of first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for an instruction on second-degree murder.

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that by using the phrase “the victim” while instructing the jury the trial court expressed an opinion regarding a fact in violation of G.S. 15A-1232; the court found that the defendant failed to show prejudice.

State v. King, 227 N.C. App. 390 (May. 21, 2013)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a special instruction concerning the effect of drug use on a witness’s credibility where the trial court gave the general witness credibility instruction. 

In a DWI case, an officer’s testimony supported an instruction that the jury could consider the defendant’s refusal to take a breath test as evidence of her guilt.

In a case in which the victim died after consuming drugs provided by the defendant and the defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on second-degree murder and the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter. The defendant objected...

In a case in which the victim died after consuming drugs provided by the defendant and the defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on second-degree murder and the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter. The defendant objected...

In a case in which the victim died after consuming drugs provided by the defendant and the defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on second-degree murder and the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter. The defendant objected...

State v. Davis, 226 N.C. App. 96 (Mar. 19, 2013)

In a homicide case, the trial court did not err by instructing on flight. The State’s evidence showed that officers were unable to locate the defendant for several months following the shooting. The defendant resided at his aunt’s house before the 2:30 am shooting and instead of returning there...

State v. Combs, 226 N.C. App. 87 (Mar. 19, 2013)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to give additional jury instructions in open court and make them a part of the record as required by G.S. 15A-1234. Where, as here, the trial judge simply repeats or clarifies instructions previously given and does...

In a case in which the defendant was charged with first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a second-degree murder charge where there was no evidence to negate the State’s proof of every element of first-degree murder; the defendant’s defense was...

The trial court erred by instructing on flight. The defendant fled from an officer responding to a 911 call regarding violation of a domestic violence protective order. After being arrested the defendant’s vehicle was searched and he was charged with perpetrating a hoax on law enforcement...

In a sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by using the word “victim” in the jury instructions. Use of this word did not constitute an opinion by the trial court regarding guilt and caused no prejudice.

State v. Perry, 222 N.C. App. 813 (Sept. 18, 2012)

Based on the circumstances of this felon in possession case, the trial court’s failure to further inquire into and answer the jury’s questions regarding constructive possession of the gun constituted plain error. The circumstances included the fact that the jury was instructed on actual...

State v. Miles, 222 N.C. App. 593 (Aug. 21, 2012) aff’d per curiam, 366 N.C. 503 (Apr 12 2013)

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on second-degree murder. The court found that the record supported the inference that the defendant murdered the victim after premeditation and deliberation. The...

The trial court did not err by refusing to instruct the jury on jury nullification.

In a burglary case, the trial court did not err by failing to reiterate an instruction on the doctrine of recent possession when instructing the jury on the lesser-included offense of felonious breaking or entering. The trial court properly instructed the jury on felonious breaking and entering...

The trial court’s jury instruction regarding the duty to reach a verdict did not coerce a guilty verdict. The relevant pattern instruction (N.C.P.I.--Crim. 101.35), based on G.S. 15A-1235(a), reads: "All twelve of you must agree to your verdict. You cannot reach a verdict by majority vote. When...

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, the trial court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on second-degree murder. The defendant conceded that the evidence warranted an instruction on first-degree murder. However, he argued that because the evidence...

State v. Foye, 220 N.C. App. 37 (Apr. 17, 2012)

The trial court did not commit plain error in its jury instruction on reasonable doubt. When reinstructing on this issue, the trial court gave the pattern instruction and added: “[r]emember, nothing can be proved 100 percent basically, but beyond a reasonable doubt. So you have to decide for...

(1) The trial court did not abuse its discretion by giving an Allen charge. During the jury’s second day of deliberations in a murder case, it sent a note to the trial judge stating that the jurors could not agree on a verdict. The trial judge inquired as to the numerical division,...

The trial court did not commit plain error by categorizing multiple identical charges in one instruction. The trial court gave the jury a copy of the instructions and separate verdict sheets clearly identifying each charge.  

No plain error occurred when the trial judge referred to the complainant as the victim several times in the jury instructions.

The trial court’s instructions to a deadlocked jury unconstitutionally coerced guilty verdicts. The jury began their initial deliberations and continued deliberating for about three hours. Following a lunch break, the jury resumed deliberations. After an hour the jury sent the following note to...

Although the trial judge did not expressly instruct the jury that if it failed to find the required elements it must find the defendant not guilty, the defendant was not prejudiced by the trial court’s alternative final mandate language (“If you do not so find . . . you will not return a verdict...

The trial court did not err by failing to define the term “larceny” for the jury. The court noted that it has previously determined that “larceny” is a word of “common usage and meaning to the general public[,]” and thus it is not error to not define it in the jury instructions. It further noted...

In a burglary case, instructions which allowed the jury to find the defendant guilty if they found that he intended to commit a felony larceny, armed robbery, or sexual offense did not impermissibly allow for a non-unanimous verdict.

In a case in which two defendants were convicted of attempted murder and felonious assault, the trial judge committed plain error by giving jury instructions that impermissibly grouped the defendants together in presenting the charges and issues to the jury. In its instructions, the trial court...

In a triple murder case in which the defendant asserted an insanity defense, the trial court did not err by failing to give the defendant’s requested jury instruction on the commitment process and instead instructing the jury on the issue pursuant to N.C.P.J.I—Crim. 304.10. The pattern...

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder, the trial court committed reversible error by denying the defendant’s request for a jury instruction on involuntary manslaughter. The evidence tended to show that the defendant did not intend to kill or seriously injure the...

Although the trial court erred by failing to give the final not guilty mandate, under the circumstances presented the error did not rise to the level of plain error.

No plain error occurred when the trial court instructed the jury on the 404(b) evidence using N.C. Pattern Jury Instruction – Crim. 104.15 but declined to instruct that the evidence could not be used to prove defendant’s character or that he acted in conformity therewith.

In a murder case, the trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder. For reasons discussed in the opinion, the evidence showed that the defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation.

State v. Lawrence, 210 N.C. App. 73 (Mar. 1, 2011) rev’d on other grounds, 365 N.C. 506 (Apr 13 2012)

The evidence was sufficient to warrant an instruction on flight. During the first robbery attempt, the defendant and a co-conspirator fled from a deputy sheriff. During the second attempt, the defendant fled from an armed neighbor. After learning of the defendant’s name and address, an officer...

In a kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder case, the trial court did not err by instructing the jury on flight. The defendant and an accomplice left the victims bound, placed a two-by-four across the inside of the apartment door, hindering access from the outside, and exited through a window....

Upon being notified that the jury was deadlocked, the trial judge did not err by giving an Allen instruction pursuant to N.C. Crim. Pattern Jury Instruction 101.40 and not G.S. 15A-1235, as requested by the defendant. Because there was no discrepancy between the pattern instruction and...

State v. Starr, 209 N.C. App. 106 (Jan. 4, 2011) aff'd on other grounds, 364 N.C. 314 (Dec 9 2011)

In an assault on a firefighter with a firearm case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant's request for a jury instruction on the elements of assault where the defendant failed to submit his requested instruction in writing. 

The trial court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on second-degree murder when no evidence negated the State’s evidence of first-degree murder. The defendant argued that the evidence showed that he killed the victim in a “frenzied, crack-fueled explosion” of a long-simmering “rage of...

In a child sexual offense case in which the indictment specified digital penetration and the evidence supported that allegation, the trial court was not required to instruct the jury that it only could find the defendant guilty if the State proved the specific sex act stated in the indictment....

State v. Ross, 207 N.C. App. 379 (Oct. 19, 2010)

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to give an Allen instruction after the jury reported for the third time that it was deadlocked when the trial judge had given such an instruction 45 minutes earlier.

There was sufficient evidence to support an instruction on flight. A masked man robbed a store and left in a light-colored sedan. Shortly thereafter, an officer saw a vehicle matching this description and a high speed chase ensued. The vehicle was owned by the defendant. The driver abandoned the...

In a murder case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for an alibi instruction. The alibi defense rested on the defendant’s testimony that he did not injure the child victim and that he left the child unattended in a bathtub for an extended period of time while meeting...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by declining to provide the jury with a written copy of the jury instructions when asked to do so by the jury.

In a case involving a charge of possession of implements of housebreaking, the trial court erred by instructing the jury that bolt cutters, vice grips, channel lock pliers, flashlights, screwdrivers, a hacksaw, and a ratchet and socket are implements of housebreaking. The instruction...

In a counterfeit controlled substance case, the trial court did not err by failing to give a jury instruction where the defense failed to submit the special instruction in writing.

The trial judge did not abuse his discretion in giving an Allen instruction. After an hour of deliberation, the jury foreman sent a note stating that the jury was not able to render a verdict and were split 11-1. The trial court recalled the jury to the courtroom and, with the consent...

In an indecent liberties case where the defendant alleged that she did not know the victim’s age, the trial court did not err by declining the defendant’s proposed instruction on willfulness which would have instructed that willfully means something more than an intention to commit the offense...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s request for a voluntary manslaughter instruction. Although the defendant knew that his wife was having sex with other men and she threatened to continue this behavior, the defendant did not find her in the act of intercourse with another or...

In a case in which the defendant was convicted, among other things, of assault with a deadly weapon on a governmental official, the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of misdemeanor assault on a government official. Because the trial...

The court upheld the language in N.C. Criminal Pattern Jury Instruction 101.40, instructing the jury that “it is your duty to do whatever you can to reach a verdict.”

The trial court did err by failing to ex mero motu investigate the competency of a juror after the juror sent two notes to the trial court during deliberations. After the juror sent a note saying that the juror could not convict on circumstantial evidence alone, the trial judge re-instructed the...

The trial judge did not err by instructing on flight where the defendant failed to appear for a court date in the case.

Show Table of Contents