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., 06/18/2022
E.g., 06/18/2022

The defendant Molly Corbett was the daughter of the co-defendant, Thomas Marten. The two were charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter following an altercation with Molly’s husband in Davidson County. The altercation occurred at the couple’s home while Molly’s mother and...

In this capital case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that a law enforcement officer’s testimony that he received information about the location of the victim from the defendant’s attorneys was inadmissible hearsay. The trial court properly determined that these statements were...

State v. Sargeantt, 365 N.C. 58 (Mar. 11, 2011)

Modifying and affirming State v. Sargeant, 206 N.C. App. 1 (Aug. 3, 2010), the court held that the trial court committed prejudicial error by excluding defense evidence of hearsay statements made by a participant in the murder, offered under the Rule 804(b)(5) residual exception. The...

In this first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle in operation case, the Court of Appeals determined that the trial court did not commit reversible error on evidentiary issues and that there was no cumulative error.  Defendant was jealous of Demesha Warren’s...

The victim in this Davie County murder case was a “neighborhood runner,” running errands for people in general, and allegedly running drugs for the defendant. One afternoon, a friend of the victim was walking home and discovered the victim laying near railroad tracks. The victim told his...

Defendants Molly Martens Corbett (“Molly”) and Thomas Michael Martens (“Tom”), daughter and father, were convicted of second degree murder in the death of Molly’s husband, Jason Corbett (“Jason”). Evidence at trial established that Tom attempted to stop Jason from choking Molly by hitting Jason...

(1) In this murder, robbery and assault case, the trial court properly found that a witness was unavailable to testify under Evidence Rule 804 and the Confrontation Clause. The witness, Montes, was arrested in connection with the crimes at issue. She cooperated with officers and gave a statement...

In this statutory rape case, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by admitting the victim’s Honduran birth certificate, asserted by the defendant to be inadmissible hearsay. To establish the victim’s age, the State introduced a copy of the victim’s Honduran...

In this drug case the trial court did not err by admitting a hearsay statement under the Rule 801(d)(E) co-conspirator exception. An undercover officer arranged a drug transaction with a target. When the officer arrived at the prearranged location, different individuals, including the defendant...

In this first-degree murder case, the trial did not err by admitting, under Rule 803(3), a handwritten document made by the victim that contained a list of things that the victim was going to tell the defendant. The trial court properly determined that the document showed the victim’s state of...

State v. Waycaster, ___ N.C. App. ___, 818 S.E.2d 189 (Aug. 7, 2018) aff'd on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (Aug 14 2020)

In a case where the defendant was convicted of interfering with an electronic monitoring device, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court committed plain error by admitting hearsay evidence regarding the ankle monitor in question. The defendant was subjected to electronic...

State v. Blankenship, ___ N.C. App. ___, 814 S.E.2d 901 (Apr. 17, 2018) temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 812 S.E.2d 666 (May 3 2018)

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by admitting hearsay statements of the victim. At issue were several statements by the child victim. In all of them, the victim said some version of “daddy put his weiner in my coochie.”

First, the trial court admitted the...

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by admitting into evidence prior written statements made to the police by the defendant’s brothers, Reginald and Antonio, pursuant to the Rule 803(5) recorded recollection exception to the hearsay rule. The statements at issue constitute hearsay....

State v. Clonts, ___ N.C. App. ____, 802 S.E.2d 531 (June 20, 2017) aff’d per curiam, ___ N.C. ___, 813 S.E.2d 796 (Jun 8 2018)

In a case in which there was a dissenting opinion, the court held that the trial court erred by admitting a non-testifying witness’s pretrial deposition testimony. (1) The trial court’s finding were insufficient to establish that the witness was unavailable for purposes of the Rule 804(b)(1)...

The trial court did not err by allowing the introduction of a video recording of the State’s witness being interviewed by law enforcement as substantive evidence where the statement fell within the Rule 803(5) hearsay exception for past recollection recorded. The court rejected the notion that...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by admitting the victim’s statements to his mother under the excited utterance exception. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that a 10-day gap between the last incident of sexual abuse and the victim’s statements to his...

State v. Cook, 246 N.C. App. 266 (Mar. 15, 2016)

In this murder case, the trial court did not err by admitting hearsay testimony under the Rule 803(3) state of mind hearsay exception. The victim’s statement that she “was scared of” the defendant unequivocally demonstrated her state of mind and was highly relevant to show the status of her...

In this methamphetamine case, a report about the defendant’s pseudoephedrine purchases was properly admitted as a business record. The report was generated from the NPLEx database. The defendant argued that the State failed to lay a proper foundation, asserting that the State was required to...

State v. Young, 233 N.C. App. 207 (Apr. 1, 2014) rev’d on other grounds, 368 N.C. 188 (Aug 21 2015)

In this murder case where the defendant was charged with killing his wife, statements by the couple’s child to daycare workers made six days after her mother was killed were admissible as excited utterances. The child’s daycare teacher testified that the child asked her for “the mommy doll.”...

The trial court properly admitted data obtained from an electronic surveillance device worn by the defendant and placing him at the scene. The specific evidence included an exhibit showing an event log compiled from data retrieved from the defendant’s device and a video file plotting the...

The trial court properly admitted an unavailable witness’s testimony at a proceeding in connection with the defendant’s Alford plea under the Rule 804(b)(1) hearsay exception for former testimony. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the testimony was inadmissible because he...

In this civil case the court held that an officer’s accident report, prepared near the time of the accident, using information from individuals who had personal knowledge of the accident was admissible under the Rule 803(6) hearsay exception.

The trial court did not err by admitting a murder victim’s hearsay statement to her sister-in-law under the Rule 803(3) then existing mental, emotional or physical condition hearsay exception. The murder victim told her sister-in-law that the defendant was harassing her and had threatened her....

The trial court did not err by excluding the defendant’s statement to a doctor, offered under Rule 803(4) (hearsay exception for medical diagnosis and treatment). The defendant told the doctor that he only confessed to the murder because an officer told him he would receive the death penalty if...

State v. Carter, 216 N.C. App. 453 (Nov. 1, 2011) rev’d on other grounds, 366 N.C. 496 (Apr 12 2013)

(1) In a child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by declining to admit defense-proffered evidence offered under the hearsay exception for statements made purposes of medical diagnosis and treatment. The evidence was the victim’s statement to a social worker made during “play...

State v. Carter, 216 N.C. App. 453 (Nov. 1, 2011) rev’d on other grounds, 366 N.C. 496 (Apr 12 2013)

(1) In a child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by declining to admit defense-proffered evidence offered under the hearsay exception for excited utterances. The evidence was the victim’s statement to a social worker made during “play therapy” sessions. Because the record...

In the defendant’s trial for sex offense, burglary, and other crimes, the trial court did not err by admitting the defendant’s statement, made to an officer upon the defendant’s arrest: “Man, I’m a B and E guy.” Given the charges, the statement was a statement against penal interest pursuant to...

In a case in which the defendant was charged with, among other things, armed robbery and possession of a stolen handgun, no plain error occurred when the trial court admitted, under Rule 803(6) (records of regularly conducted activity) testimony that the National Crime Information Center ("NCIC...

A victim’s statement to his mother, made in the emergency room approximately 50 minutes after a shooting and identifying the defendant as the shooter, was a present sense impression under Rule 803(1). The time period between the shooting and the statement was sufficiently brief. The court noted...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by sustaining the State’s objection to a defense proffer of a co-defendant’s hearsay statement indicating that he and the defendant acted in self-defense. The statement was not admissible under Rule 804(b)(3) (statement against interest exception). To...

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by sustaining the State’s objection to a defense proffer of a co-defendant’s hearsay statement indicating that he and the defendant acted in self-defense. The statement was not admissible under Rule 804(b)(3) (statement against interest exception). To...

In a larceny of motor vehicle case, the court held that the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA pricing guide fall within the Rule 803(17) hearsay exception for “[m]arket quotations, tabulations, lists, directories, or other published compilations, generally used and relied upon by the public or by...

Information in a police department database linking the defendant’s name to her photograph fell within the Rule 803(8) public records hearsay exception. After an undercover officer engaged in a drug buy from the defendant, he selected the defendant’s photograph from an array presented to him by...

A murder victim’s statements to her mother were properly admitted under the Rule 803(3) exception for then-existing mental, emotional or physical condition. The victim told her mother that she wanted to leave the defendant because he was wanted in another jurisdiction for attempting to harm the...

An audio recording can be admitted under the Rule 803(5) exception for recorded recollection. However, the statement at issue was not admissible under this exception because the witness did not recall making the statement and when asked whether she fabricated it, the witness testified that...

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