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
State v. Lane, 365 N.C. 7 (Mar. 11, 2011)

In a capital murder case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding expert testimony from a neuropharmacologist and research scientist who studies the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain, proffered by the defense as relevant to the jury’s determination of the reliability of...

In this sex offense with a child case, the trial court did not err by prohibiting the defendant from introducing evidence of the immigration status of the victim’s mother, a testifying witness, on the basis that the evidence was irrelevant under Rule 401.  The mother’s immigration status did not...

An officer initiated a voluntary encounter with the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car. The officer detected a marijuana odor, and the defendant admitted he was smoking a blunt and handed it to the officer. Once backup arrived, the officer asked the defendant to step...

In a case where the defendant was found guilty of obtaining property by false pretenses and insurance fraud involving a claim regarding a stolen truck, although the trial court erred by admitting evidence of a truck later found in a river, the error did not rise to the level of plain error. The...

(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 this first-degree murder case, the trial court did not err by admitting letters detailing the defendant’s outstanding debts. The defendant argued that the letters were not relevant. At the time of the victim’s death, she was considering calling off her engagement to the defendant because of...

State v. Alonzo, ___ N.C. App. __, 819 S.E.2d 584 (Aug. 21, 2018) modified and affirmed on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Feb 28 2020)

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by finding that the defendant’s proffered testimony was not relevant. The defendant was charged with committing sexual acts on his daughter Sandy while home from the military on compassionate leave. At trial, the defendant attempted...

In this second-degree murder vehicle accident and felony speeding to elude case, the trial court did not err by excluding, under Rule 401, the defendant’s testimony regarding his medical diagnoses. At trial, the defendant attempted to testify to his cognitive impairments and behavioral problems...

In a case involving charges of obtaining property by false pretenses arising out of alleged insurance fraud, the trial court did not err by admitting testimony that the defendant did not appear for two scheduled examinations under oath as required by her insurance policy and failed to respond to...

In this murder case, the defendant’s statements about his intent to shoot someone in order to retrieve the keys to his grandmother’s car, made immediately prior to the shooting of the victim, were relevant. The statements showed the defendant’s state of mind near the time of the shooting and...

In this homicide case where the defendant was charged with murdering his wife, the trial court properly allowed forensic psychologist Ginger Calloway to testify about a report she prepared in connection with a custody proceeding regarding the couple’s children. The report contained, among other...

In a sexual assault case involving DNA evidence, the trial court did not err by excluding as irrelevant defense evidence that police department evidence room refrigerators were moldy and that evidence was kept in a disorganized and non-sterile environment where none of the material tested in the...

In a case in which the defendant was charged with murdering his wife, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a letter the defendant wrote years before his wife’s death to an acquaintance detailing his financial hardships. Statements in the letter supported the State’s theory...

The trial court did not commit plain error by allowing the State to question two witnesses on rebuttal about whether they received money from the victim in exchange for making up statements when the defendant raised the issue of the victim’s veracity on his cross examination.

In the habitual felon phase of the defendant’s trial, questions and answers contained in the Transcript of Plea form for the predicate felony pertaining to whether, at the time of the plea, the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and his use of such substances were irrelevant....

In a child sexual abuse case, evidence of the defendant’s prior violence towards the victims’ mother, with whom he lived, was relevant to show why the victims were afraid to report the sexual abuse and to refute the defendant’s assertion that the victims’ mother was pressuring the victims to...

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