Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium


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., 10/03/2023
E.g., 10/03/2023

In this drug case, a new trial was required where character evidence was improperly admitted. When cross-examining the defendant’s witness, the prosecutor elicited testimony that the defendant had been incarcerated for a period of time. The court viewed this testimony as being equivalent to...

In this larceny trial, the trial court did err by allowing the State to cross-examine the defendant on his previous convictions for uttering a forged instrument, forgery, and obtaining property by false pretenses, all of which occurred more than 10 years ago. The court noted that it has held...


(1) Under Rule 609, a party is not required to establish a prior conviction before cross-examining a witness about the offense. (2) Although cross-examination under Rule 609 is generally limited to the name of the crime, the time and place of the conviction, and the punishment imposed,...

The trial court erred by allowing the State to impeach a defense witness with a prior conviction that occurred outside of the ten-year “look-back” for Rule 609 when the trial court made no findings as to admissibility. However, no prejudice resulted. 

Over a dissent, the court held that the trial court committed prejudicial error by denying defense counsel’s request to allow into evidence an exhibit showing the victim’s prior convictions for twelve felonies and two misdemeanors, offered under Rule 609. The court noted that Rule 609 is...

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