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 a case where the defendant was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the court reversed the opinion below, ___ N.C. App. ___, 789 S.E.2d 703 (2016), for the reasons stated in the dissent. The case involved the drowning of a child under the...

In this possession of a firearm by a felon case, the court reversed in part the decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 801 S.E.2d 169 (2017), for the reasons stated in the dissent. A divided panel of the court of appeals had held that the trial court erred by admitting 404(b)...

Reversing State v. Beckelheimer, 211 N.C. App. 362 (Apr. 19, 2011), the court held that the trial judge did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence. The defendant was charged with sexual offense and indecent liberties. At the time of the alleged offense the defendant was 27. The victim was...

State v. Brown, 365 N.C. 465 (Mar. 9, 2012)

In a per curiam opinion, the court affirmed the decision below in State v. Brown, 211 N.C. App. 427 (May 3, 2011) (in a case in which the defendant was charged with sexually assaulting his minor child, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by admitting...

State v. Jacobs, 363 N.C. 815 (Mar. 12, 2010)

In a murder and attempted armed robbery trial, the trial court erred when it excluded the defendant’s proposed testimony that he knew of certain violent acts by the victim and that the victim had spent time in prison. This evidence was relevant to the defendant’s claim of self-defense to the...

State v. Locklear, 363 N.C. 438 (Aug. 28, 2009)

In this capital murder case, the trial court did not err in admitting evidence that the defendant committed another murder 32 months earlier. Evidence of the prior murder was admitted to show knowledge, plan, opportunity, modus operandi, and motive. The court found the two crimes sufficiently...

State v. Maready, 362 N.C. 614 (Dec. 12, 2008)

The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder involving impaired driving. No plain error occurred when the trial judge admitted, under Rule 404(b), the defendant’s prior traffic-related convictions that were more than sixteen years old. The court rejected the implication that it previously...

In this first-degree murder case, (1) the trial court did not err by admitting under Rule 404(b) evidence of the disappearance of a person the defendant had been previously convicted of murdering, (2) the defendant was not prejudiced by alleged improper remarks by the prosecution during closing...

In this Mecklenburg County case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon for shooting and killing Oren Reed. Reed’s aunt found his body in a pool of blood inside the backdoor of his home around 5 p.m. on November 21, 2013. The doorframe for 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...

In this felony breaking and entering, larceny, and felon in possession case, evidence that the defendant committed a similar breaking and entering was properly admitted under Rule 404(b).  In addition, certain statements made by the victim of the similar breaking and entering were...

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.

...

The defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and other charges and appealed. He argued the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress, his motion to dismiss, and in admitting certain evidence. The Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed. 

The trial court did not...

The trial court did not commit plain error by admitting certain testimony that may have suggested that the defendant engaged in witness intimidation. Specifically a detective testified that during a photo lineup a victim appeared to not want to identify the suspect. The detective added that the...

The trial court did not commit plain error by admitting certain testimony that may have suggested that the defendant engaged in witness intimidation. Specifically a detective testified that during a photo lineup a victim appeared to not want to identify the suspect. The detective added that the...

In a case involving a conviction for second-degree murder following a fatal motor vehicle accident, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of the defendant’s past driving offenses. The State’s evidence showed that on 23 November 2016, the defendant was stopped for an...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence. In 2016, the victim reported to law enforcement that the defendant sexually assaulted her many times when she was a child, including a final incident on or about May 2004 when she was 12 years old....

(1) In this non-capital first-degree murder case where the defendant was convicted of murdering a former girlfriend Sellars, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) testimony from the defendant’s former girlfriend Crisp and former wife Lewis about assaults that the defendant committed on...

In this case where the defendant was convicted of stalking victim Lorrie, with whom the defendant had a dating relationship, the trial court did not commit plain error by introducing 404(b) evidence from Holly, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend. The defendant argued that the trial court erred in...

In this possession of a firearm by a felon case, the trial court did not err when it allowed an officer to testify that during an unrelated incident, the officer saw the defendant exiting a house that the officer was surveilling and to testify that the defendant had a reputation for causing...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by admitting Rule 404(b) evidence regarding a sexual assault perpetrated by the defendant on another child, Katy. The case being tried involved vaginal intercourse and other acts with a child victim. The 404(b) evidence involved in...

In this larceny by employee case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence. The charges arose out of a 2014 incident in which the defendant, a manager of an auto shop, kept for himself cash paid by a customer for auto repairs. At trial, an officer testified that in 2010 he...

In this larceny by employee case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence. The charges arose out of a 2014 incident in which the defendant, a manager of an auto shop, kept for himself cash paid by a customer for auto repairs. At trial, an officer testified that in 2010 he...

In this arson case, the trial court properly admitted 404(b) evidence to show the defendant’s intent. The evidence in question pertained to another arson which was sufficiently similar to the incident in question. Both arsons occurred in the same town during nighttime hours and involved the same...

In this child abuse case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence regarding consensual sexual activity between the defendant and his wife. Here, after the child described to the wife a sexual act performed by the defendant, the wife signed a statement indicating that...

(1) In this sexual assault case involving allegations that the defendant, a high school wrestling coach, sexually assaulted wrestlers, the trial court did not err by admitting, under Rule 404(b), evidence that the defendant engaged in hazing techniques against his wrestlers. The evidence...

State v. Campbell, 243 N.C. App. 563 (Oct. 20, 2015) rev’d on other grounds, 369 N.C. 599 (Jun 9 2017)

In a case involving a breaking or entering of a church, counsel was not ineffective by failing to challenge the admissibility of evidence that the defendant broke into a home on the night in question. The court noted that because the issue pertains to the admission of evidence no further factual...

In this case where the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder for killing her boyfriend, the trial court did not err by introducing 404(b) evidence pertaining to an incident between the defendant and another boyfriend, Walker, which occurred 14 months before the events in question. The...

In this obtaining property by false pretenses case, the trial court did not err by admitting Rule 404(b) evidence. The charges arose out of the defendant’s acts of approaching two individuals (Ms. Hoenig and Ms. Harward), falsely telling them their roofs needed repair, taking payment for the...

In this felony indecent exposure case where the defendant exposed himself to a 14-year old boy, his mother and grandmother, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence from two adult women who testified that the defendant exposed himself in public on other occasions. The court...

In this child sexual abuse case, the trial court properly admitted 404(b) evidence from several witnesses. As to two of the witnesses, the defendant argued that the incidents they described were too remote and insufficiently similar. The court concluded that although the sexual abuse of these...

In a case where the defendant was charged with embezzling from a school, trial court did not err by admitting evidence that the defendant misappropriated funds from a church to show absence of mistake, opportunity, motive, intent, and/or common plan or scheme. The record supported the trial...

In a sexual exploitation of a minor case, the trial court did not commit plain error by admitting evidence that the defendant set up a webcam in a teenager’s room; videotaped her dancing in her pajamas; and inappropriately touched her while they rode four-wheelers. Although the court had an...

In a child sex case, the trial court did not err by admitting adult pornography found in the defendant’s home to establish motive or intent where the defendant showed the victim both child and adult pornography. Furthermore the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting this evidence...

In a child sex case, the trial court did not err by allowing a child witness, A.L., to testify to sexual intercourse with the defendant. The court found the incidents sufficiently similar, noting among other things, that A.L. was assaulted in the same car as K.C. Although A.L. testified that the...

In a second-degree murder case arising after the defendant drove while impaired and hit and killed two bicyclists, the trial court did not err by admitting Rule 404(b) evidence. Specifically, Thelma Shumaker, a woman defendant dated, testified regarding an incident where the defendant drove...

State v. Walston, 229 N.C. App. 141 (Aug. 30, 2013) rev’d on other grounds, 367 N.C. 721 (Dec 19 2014)

In a child sex case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence of the defendant’s prior sexual conduct. The court found the prior acts sufficiently similar and that the requirement of temporal proximity was met. 

In a residential robbery case, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence of the defendant’s robbery at a Holiday Inn two days after the incident in question. As to similarity, the court noted that both incidents were armed robberies. Also, the perpetrators in both wore black...

In a robbery case involving a purse snatching, a purse-snatching by the defendant 6 weeks prior was properly admitted under Rule 404(b). The court found that the incidents were sufficiently in that they both occurred in Wal-Mart parking lots and involved a purse-snatching from a female victim...

In a counterfeit controlled substance case where the defendant was alleged to have sold tramadol hydrochloride, representing it to be Vicodin, evidence that he also possessed Epsom salt in a baggie was properly admitted under Rule 404(b). The salt bore a sufficient similarity to crack cocaine in...

In an involuntary manslaughter case where the victim, who was under 21, died from alcohol poisoning and the defendant was alleged to have aided and abetted the victim in the possession or consumption of alcohol, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence that the defendant provided...

In a case in which the defendant was convicted of perpetrating a hoax on law enforcement officers by use of a false bomb, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of the defendant’s prior acts against his estranged wife. The defendant’s wife had a domestic violence protective order...

In a second-degree rape case, the trial court properly admitted 404(b) evidence of the defendant’s prior sexual conduct with the victim to show common scheme. The conduct leading to the charges occurred in 1985 when the victim was sixteen years old. After ingesting alcohol and other substances,...

In a child sex case involving a female victim, the trial court did not err by admitting 404(b) evidence in the form of testimony from another female child (E.S.) who recounted the defendant’s sexual activity with her. The evidence was relevant to show plan and intent. Because the defendant’s...

In a second-degree murder case stemming from a vehicle accident during a high speed chase following a shoplifting incident, details of the shoplifting incident were properly admitted under Rule 404(b). Evidence is admissible under Rule 404(b) when it is part of the chain of circumstances leading...

(1) The trial court did not err by admitting evidence that the defendant received two citations for driving without a license, including one only three days before the crash at issue. The fact that the defendant drove after having been repeatedly informed that driving without a license was...

In the defendant’s trial for breaking and entering into his ex-wife’s Raleigh residence and for burning her personal property, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence of an argument the defendant had with the victim and of a prior break-in at the victim’s...

In the defendant’s trial for breaking and entering into his ex-wife’s Raleigh residence and for burning her personal property, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence of an argument the defendant had with the victim and of a prior break-in at the victim’s...

State v. Foust, 220 N.C. App. 63 (Apr. 17, 2012)

In a rape case, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence that the defendant assaulted a male visiting the victim’s home and called the victim a whore and slut upon arriving at her house and finding a male visitor. Rejecting the defendant’s argument that these incidents bore no...

State v. Foust, 220 N.C. App. 63 (Apr. 17, 2012)

In a rape case, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence that the defendant assaulted a male visiting the victim’s home and called the victim a whore and slut upon arriving at her house and finding a male visitor. Rejecting the defendant’s argument that these incidents bore no...

In a case involving convictions for uttering a forged instrument and attempting to obtain property by false pretenses in connection with a fraudulent check, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of a second fraudulent check. The second check was virtually identical to the first one,...

Evidence of a break-in by the defendant, occurring after the break-in in question, was properly admitted under Rule 404(b). DNA evidence sufficiently linked the defendant to the break-in and the evidence was probative of  intent, identity, modus operandi, and common scheme or plan. 

In a case in which the defendant was charged with murdering his wife, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence pertaining to the defendant’s submission of false information in a loan application. Evidence of the defendant’s financial hardship was relevant to show...

(1) In a case in which the defendant faced homicide charges in connection with the death of an officer in a vehicular accident while that officer responded to a call regarding the defendant’s flight from another officer’s lawful stop of the defendant’s vehicle, the trial court did not err by...

In sexual assault case involving a child victim, no error occurred when the trial court admitted 404(b) evidence that the defendant engaged in sexual contact with another child to show common plan or scheme. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the acts were not sufficiently similar...

In a maiming case in which the defendant was accused of attacking the victim with a pickaxe and almost severing his finger, no plain error occurred when the trial judge admitted 404(b) evidence that the defendant had previously attacked the victim with a fork and stabbed his finger. The 404(b)...

In a case in which the defendant was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses by lying to church members about his situation, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence of the defendant’s similar conduct with regard to other churches, occurring after the...

In a case in which the defendant was charged with sexual offense, indecent liberties and crime against nature against a ten-year-old female victim, no plain error occurred when the trial court admitted evidence of the defendant’s prior bad acts against two other teenaged females. The evidence...

In a case involving charges arising out of a drug store break-in in which controlled substances were stolen, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) testimony from an accomplice that a few days before the break-in at issue, the same perpetrators broke into a different...

In a child sexual abuse case involving a female victim, the trial court did not err by allowing testimony from four individuals (three females and one male) that the defendant sexually abused them when they were children. The events occurred 14, 21, and 27 years prior to the abuse at issue....

In an armed robbery case, evidence of the defendant’s involvement in another robbery was properly admitted under Rule 404(b). In both instances, the victims were robbed of their credit or debit cards by one or more handgun-wielding individuals with African accents, which were then used by the...

In a murder and armed robbery case, the trial court did not commit plain error by admitting 404(b) evidence that the defendant broke into and stole from two houses near the time of the victim’s death. The evidence was relevant to illustrate the defendant’s motive for stealing from the victim—to...

In a case in which the defendant was found guilty of felonious child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and first-degree murder, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting 404(b) evidence showing that the defendant engaged in continual and systematic abuse of her other...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting, to show identification, intent, and modus operandi, a bad act that occurred 2 ½ years after the crime at issue. Bad acts that occur subsequent to the offense being tried are admissible under Rule 404(b). When the evidence is admitted to...

The trial court properly admitted evidence of the defendant’s prior assault on a murder victim when the evidence showed that the defendant wanted to prevent the victim from testifying against him in the assault trial; the prior bad act showed motive, malice, hatred, ill-will and intent. There...

Evidence of that the defendant drove with a revoked license after his arrest for several crimes, including driving while license revoked, which lead to the prosecution at issue, was admissible under Rule 404(b) to show that he knowingly drove with a revoked license.

In a trial for assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting and obstructing, the trial court properly admitted evidence relating to the defendant’s earlier domestic disturbance arrest. The same officer involved in the present offenses handled the earlier arrest, and at the time had told...

In a murder case, evidence of an assault committed by the defendant two days before the murder was admissible to show identity when ballistics evidence showed that the same weapon was used in both the murder and the assault. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the probative value of...

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