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., 10/21/2021
E.g., 10/21/2021

In the case of a defendant who committed a homicide when he or she was under 18, Miller and Montgomery do not require the sentencer to make a separate factual finding of permanent incorrigibility before sentencing the defendant to life without parole. In such a case, a discretionary sentencing...

The Court held that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is an “incorporated” protection applicable to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Tyson Timbs pleaded guilty in Indiana state court to dealing in a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit theft....

In a per curiam decision, the Court held that the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling, holding that Virginia’s “geriatric release” provision satisfies Graham v. Florida was not an objectively unreasonable application of Graham. In 1999, the defendant, who was 16 years old at the...

Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (June 25, 2012)

The Court held that the 8th Amendment prohibits a sentencing scheme that requires life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.

Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (May. 17, 2010)

The Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause does not permit a juvenile offender to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a non-homicide crime. For a more detailed discussion of this case, click...

The court per curiam affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals, which had held that his sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole for his conviction of felony murder when he was 16 years old was not grossly disproportionate to his crime under the both the Eighth Amendment and...

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 786 S.E.2d 73 (2016), in this murder case where the defendant, who was a juvenile at the time of the offense, was resentenced to life in prison without parole under the state’s Miller-compliant...

State v. Perry, 369 N.C. 390 (Dec. 21, 2016)

The State conceded and the court agreed that pursuant to Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016), Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012) (holding that imposition of a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole upon a juvenile violates the...

State v. Young, 369 N.C. 118 (Dec. 21, 2016)

The State conceded and the court agreed that pursuant to Montgomery, Miller applies retroactively. The court further rejected the State’s argument that the defendant’s sentence was not in violation of Miller because it allowed for a meaningful opportunity for the...

State v. Seam, 369 N.C. 418 (Dec. 21, 2016)

In a per curiam opinion, and for the reasons stated in Young (summarized immediately above), the court affirmed the trial court and remanded for resentencing.

In 2004, the defendant was convicted of criminal offenses related to two convenience store robberies and a separate kidnapping and murder. All three incidents occurred in 2002, when the defendant was 16 years old. The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery, and was...

The defendant was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of life without parole for two murders he committed when he was 17 years old. The defendant filed an MAR requesting resentencing on the grounds that sentencing a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional...

The defendant pleaded guilty to raping and murdering his aunt, and received a sentence of 240-348 months for the rape followed by a consecutive sentence of life with parole for the murder. On appeal, the defendant argued that: (i) a consecutive sentence of life with parole was not...

The defendant was a participant in a double murder at the age of 17 and sentenced to consecutive terms of life without parole (“LWOP”) in Cumberland County in 2001. He moved for resentencing pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) (holding that mandatory life without parole...

The defendant, 17 years old at the time of his crime, was charged with first-degree murder based on his role in a murder committed by one of his acquaintances during a robbery. Trial testimony indicated that the defendant orchestrated the killing. He was convicted by a jury of first-degree...

State v. Seam, ___ N.C. App. ___, 823 S.E.2d 605 (Dec. 18, 2018) aff’d per curiam, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Feb 28 2020)

The defendant’s sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole for his conviction of felony murder when he was 16 years old is constitutional.

          The defendant asserted that his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. The court concluded that an as applied challenge is...

In this child sexual assault case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court’s consecutive sentences, totaling a minimum of 138 years, violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The court began by finding that...

The trial court did not err by imposing a sentence of life imprisonment without parole on the juvenile defendant. In 2001 the defendant was tried capitally and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and burning of personal property. The jury recommended a sentence of life...

The defendant’s sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after a term of 25 years does not violate the Eighth Amendment under Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). As a 15-year-old, the defendant was charged with first-degree murder. He was found guilty under...

The defendant’s constitutional rights were not violated when the trial court sentenced him on three counts of first-degree sexual offense, where the offenses were committed when the defendant was fifteen years old. The court found that the defendant had not brought the type of categorical...

State v. Thomsen, 242 N.C. App. 475 (Aug. 4, 2015) aff'd on other grounds, 369 N.C. 22 (Aug 19 2016)

The trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s 300-month minimum, 420-month maximum sentence for statutory rape and statutory sex offense violated the Eighth Amendment. The court concluded: “A 300-month sentence is not grossly disproportionate to the two crimes to which Defendant pled...

In this case, arising from the defendant’s conviction for first-degree murder of UNC student Eve Carson, the court upheld the constitutionality of the State’s “Miller fix” statute and determined that the trial court’s findings supported a sentence to life in prison without the...

he court declined to extend Miller to this felony-murder case, where the defendant turned 18 one month before the crime in question.

he trial court erred by concluding that a 50-year sentence with the possibility of parole on a defendant who was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The defendant was convicted of second degree...

he trial court erred by concluding that a 50-year sentence with the possibility of parole on a defendant who was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The defendant was convicted of second degree...

State v. Stubbs, 232 N.C. App. 274 (Feb. 4, 2014) aff'd on other grounds, 368 N.C. 40 (Apr 10 2015)

The court held that the trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole violated of the Eighth Amendment. In 1973, the 17-year-old defendant was charged with first-degree burglary and other offenses. After he turned 18, he defendant...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for first-degree felony-murder (child abuse as the underlying felony) violated the 8th Amendment.

Under Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the trial court violated the defendant’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by imposing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole upon him despite the fact that he was under...

In an appeal from a conviction obtained in the Eve Carson murder case, the court held that the defendant was entitled to a new sentencing hearing in accordance with G.S. 15A-1476 (recodified as G.S. 15A-1340.19A), the statute enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly to bring the State’s...

No violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment occurred when the defendant, who was 16 years old at the time of his arrest, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole . The court rejected the...

The defendant, who was sixteen years old when he committed the sexual offenses at issue, was sentenced to 32 to 40 years imprisonment. The court held that the sentence did not violate the constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

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