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., 10/22/2021
E.g., 10/22/2021

In this capital case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his requests for a mistrial because of two statements made by the State during closing arguments at the guilt phase of the trial. During the investigation of the case, the...

In this armed robbery case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial based upon a detective testifying that he had retrieved from the “jail archive” photographs used for a lineup where the victim identified the defendant.  The court noted that G.S. 15A-1061...

In this Bertie County case, the defendant was charged with first-degree murder and felony possession of a weapon by a prisoner for an alleged fight at Bertie Correctional Institution that left another inmate dead. After court adjourned on the first day of the defendant’s trial, one of the...

In this sex offense case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial and instead giving a curative instruction to the jury in response to the State’s objectionable questioning of a witness.  Defense counsel did not admit the defendant’s guilt...

The defendant was convicted of obtaining property by false pretenses for selling boxes purportedly containing iPhones that contained only lug nuts. At trial, the prosecutor tried to use the video system to display to the jury a photo of the vehicle driven by the defendant, which the judge...

In this Watauga County case for indecent liberties, the defendant was accused of improper contact with a child in an incident allegedly witnessed by the child’s sister and mother. The State sought to compel the mother and two daughters to testify at trial. After jury was impaneled and opening...

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by denying his motion for mistrial when an expert witness mentioned the defendant as “a person who had a history of criminality.” Dr. Elizabeth Witman, the director of SAFEchild Advocacy...

The trial court properly declared a mistrial for manifest necessity in this felony assault case. After the State rested, the trial court expressed concern that one of the jurors would be unavailable due to his wife’s upcoming heart procedure. The trial court expressed “no confidence” and “...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to sua sponte declare a mistrial. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a mistrial was required by certain behavior of the victim’s father. The defendant had pointed to several instances of...

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...

In this drug trafficking case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by declining to declare a mistrial because of a prospective juror’s comment. In the presence of the rest of the jury pool, the prospective juror stated that he had seen the defendant “around” and “I believe she did it.”...

In this robbery case, the trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s mistrial motion made after an officer testified that the defendant told him that he was turning himself in on a failure to appear charge issued in connection with unrelated drug charges. The defendant failed to timely...

The trial court did not err by denying the pro se defendant’s motion for mistrial asserting that the jury was prejudiced against him. The record revealed that members of the jury did seem to be frustrated with the pro se defendant who was disruptive in court and asked rambling and irrelevant...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial where the motion was based on the defendant’s own misconduct in the courtroom.

In a resist, delay and obstruct case arising out of an incident of indecent exposure, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s mistrial motion when an officer testifying for the State indicated that the defendant said he was a convicted sex offender. The trial...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial made after three law enforcement officers, who were witnesses for the State, walked through the jury assembly room on their way to court while two members of the jury were in the room. The trial court...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in this murder case by denying the defendant’s motion for a mistrial made in response to a statement by the prosecutor during the State’s direct examination of a witness that “[t]here was testimony in this case that a shot was fired from a shotgun in...

State v. Dye, 207 N.C. App. 473 (Oct. 19, 2010)

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s mistrial motion, made after the jury returned guilty verdicts. The motion was based on the fact that the child victim in this sexual assault case twice interrupted defense counsel’s closing argument. After the initial...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s mistrial motion made after the State twice violated a court order forbidding any mention of polygraph examinations. The court disapproved of the State’s action in submitting to the jury unredacted exhibits containing...

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