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., 06/26/2022
E.g., 06/26/2022
State v. Nabors, 365 N.C. 306 (Dec. 9, 2011)

The court reversed a decision by the court of appeals in State v. Nabors, 207 N.C. App. 463 (Oct. 19, 2010) (the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss drug charges when the evidence that the substance at issue was crack cocaine consisted of lay opinion testimony...

State v. Ward, 364 N.C. 133 (June 17, 2010)

In a drug case, the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the State’s expert in chemical analyses of drugs and forensic chemistry to identify the pills at issue as controlled substances when the expert’s method of making that identification consisted of a visual inspection and comparison...

In this drug case, the trial court erred but did not commit plain error by allowing the State’s expert to testify that the pills were hydrocodone. With no objection from the defendant at trial, the expert testified that she performed a chemical analysis on a single tablet and found that it...

In this drug case, the trial court did not commit plain error by admitting the expert opinion of a forensic chemist. On appeal, the defendant argued that the expert’s testimony failed to demonstrate that the methods she used were reliable under the Rule 702. Specifically, he argued that the...

The evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendant’s conviction for possession of methamphetamine. After the police discovered a white crystalline substance in a vehicle, they arrested the defendant who had been sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. While being transported to a detention...

In this drug case, the court held that although the trial court erred by allowing lay opinion testimony identifying the substance at issue as crack cocaine based on a visual identification, the error was not prejudicial where the State presented expert testimony, based on a scientifically valid...

In this drug case, the trial court committed plain error by allowing a law enforcement officer to testify that pills found at the defendant’s home were Alprazolam and Oxycodone, where the identification was based on a visual inspection of the pills and use of a website, drugs.com. Under North...

In this drug case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting expert testimony identifying the substance at issue as marijuana. At trial, Agent Baxter, a forensic scientist with the N.C. State Crime Lab, testified that she examined the substance, conducted relevant tests, and that...

In this conspiracy to traffic in opiates case, the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction where the State’s expert analyzed only one of the pills in question and then confirmed that the remainder were visually consistent with the one that was tested. The police seized 20 pills...

The evidence was sufficient with respect to 35 counts of possession of the precursor chemical pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the evidence was insufficient because the substance was not chemically identified as...

In a counterfeit controlled substance case, the trial court committed plain error by admitting evidence identifying a substance as tramadol hydrochloride based solely upon an expert’s visual inspection. The State’s witness Brian King, a forensic chemist with the State Crime Lab, testified that...

In a misdemeanor possession of marijuana case, the State was not required to test the substance alleged to be marijuana where the arresting officer testified without objection that based on his training the substance was marijuana. The officer’s testimony was substantial evidence that the...

In a drug case, an officer properly was allowed to identify the substance at issue as marijuana based on his “visual and olfactory assessment”; a chemical analysis of the marijuana was not required.

In a trafficking in opium case, the State’s forensic expert properly testified that the substance at issue was an opium derivative where the expert relied on a chemical analysis, not a visual identification.

(1) The trial court improperly allowed an officer to testify that a substance was cocaine based on a visual examination. (2) However, that same officer was properly allowed to testify that a substance was marijuana based on visual identification. (3) In a footnote, the court indicated that the...

In a case arising from a pharmacy break-in, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss trafficking in opium charges because the State did not present a chemical analysis of the pills. Citing State v. Ward, 364 N.C. 133 (2010), and ...

An expert in forensic chemistry properly made an in-court visual identification of marijuana. Citing State v. Fletcher, 92 N.C. App. 50, 57 (1988), but not mentioning State v. Ward, 364 N.C. 133 (June 17, 2010), the court noted that it had previously held that a police...

Holding that the trial court committed plain error by admitting the testimony of the State’s expert chemist witness that the substance at issue was hydrocodone, an opium derivative. The State’s expert used a Micromedics database of pharmaceutical preparations to identify the pills at issue...

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