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

Navigate using the table of contents to the left or by using the search box below. Use quotations for an exact phrase search. A search for multiple terms without quotations functions as an “or” search. Not sure where to start? The 5 minute video tutorial offers a guided tour of main features – Launch Tutorial (opens in new tab).

E.g., 10/22/2021
E.g., 10/22/2021

Confronting the question in a habeas case of whether the holding in Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U.S. ___, ___ S. Ct. ___ (2020) that a state jury must be unanimous to convict a criminal defendant of a serious offenses...

This case arose from the cross-border shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican child by a U.S. border patrol agent. The parents of the child sued the agent in federal court for Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)....

In a per curiam opinion the Court held that a Tucson, Arizona police officer was entitled to qualified immunity with respect to his non-fatal shooting of Amy Hughes. Kisela and officer Garcia responded to a police radio report that a woman was hacking a tree with a kitchen knife. Minutes later,...

Reversing a Ninth Circuit decision that upheld a $4 million award on a §1983 excessive force claim, the Court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s “provocation doctrine,” which had allowed relief where the officers’ conduct was deemed reasonable. Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department...

The Court held that when a criminal conviction is invalidated by a reviewing court and no retrial will occur, is the State obliged to refund fees, court costs, and restitution exacted from the defendant upon, and as a consequence of, the conviction. Absent conviction of a crime, one is presumed...

The Ninth Circuit erred by concluding that the California “Dixon bar”--providing that a defendant procedurally defaults a claim raised for the first time on state collateral review if he could have raised it earlier on direct appeal—was inadequate to bar federal habeas review. Federal habeas...

Johnson v. United States, 576 U. S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), holding that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U. S. C. §924(e)(2)(B)(ii), was void for vagueness was a substantive decision that is retroactive in cases on collateral review.

Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. ___ (2012) (holding that a juvenile convicted of a homicide offense could not be sentenced to life in prison without parole absent consideration of the juvenile’s special circumstances), applied retroactively to juvenile offenders whose convictions and...

In this federal habeas case, the Court held that the Michigan Court of Appeals did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law when it retroactively applied to the defendant’s case a state supreme court decision rejecting the diminished capacity defense for first-degree murder. The...

Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U. S. 356 (2010) (criminal defense attorneys must inform non-citizen clients of the risks of deportation arising from guilty pleas), does not apply retroactively to cases that became final before Padilla was decided. Applying the Teague ...

Brown v. Plata, 563 U.S. 493 (May. 23, 2011)

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court affirmed a remedial order issued by a three-judge court directing California to remedy ongoing constitutional violations involving prisoners with serious mental disorders and medical conditions primarily caused by prison overcrowding. The order below leaves the...

A district attorney’s office may not be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to train based on a single Brady violation. The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office conceded that, in prosecuting the defendant for attempted armed robbery, prosecutors failed to disclose...

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that a convicted state prisoner seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence may assert a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. However, the Court noted that District Attorney’s Office for Third Judicial Dist. v. Osborne, 557 U.S. 52 (2009), severely limits...

Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34 (Feb. 22, 2010)

Trial court erred by dismissing the prisoner’s excessive force claim on grounds that his injuries were de minimis. In an excessive force claim, the core inquiry is not whether a certain quantum of injury was sustained but rather whether the force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or...

Beard v. Kindler, 558 U.S. 53 (Dec. 8, 2009)

A federal habeas court will not review a claim rejected by a state court if the state court decision rests on an adequate and independent state law ground. The Court held that a state rule is not inadequate for purposes of this analysis just because it is a discretionary rule.

District of Attorney’s Office v. Osborne, 557 U.S. 52 (June 18, 2009)

A defendant whose criminal conviction has become final does not have a substantive due process right to gain access to evidence so that it can be subjected to DNA testing to attempt to prove innocence. Additionally, the Court rejected the holding below that Alaska’s procedures for post-...

The defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 2003. The defendant challenged his conviction and sentence on direct appeal, but the Supreme Court unanimously found no error. The Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari. Subsequently, the...

The defendant, who was 14 years old at the time of the offense, was convicted of first-degree murder in 1997. In 2018, the trial court granted a motion for appropriate relief and vacated his conviction based on newly discovered evidence in the form of an affidavit from William McCormick...

Considering an issue of first impression, the court held that the pro se indigent defendant made an insufficient showing that post-conviction DNA testing “may be material to [his] claim of wrongful conviction” and consequently the trial court did not err by denying his motion for DNA...

State v. Sayre, 371 N.C. 468 (Sept. 21, 2018)

On appeal from the unpublished decision of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 699 (2017), the court affirmed per curiam. In the opinion below, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s pro se motion to locate and preserve...

State v. Hyman, 371 N.C. 363 (Aug. 17, 2018)

(1) On review of a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 797 S.E.2d 308 (2017), in this murder case, the court affirmed the holding of the Court of Appeals that the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) claim was not procedurally barred under G.S. 15A-1419(a)(3...

State v. Lane, 370 N.C. 508 (Mar. 2, 2018)

In this capital case, the court held that the defendant failed to prove materiality in connection with his request for post-conviction DNA testing of hair samples. The hair samples were found in a trash bag in which the victim’s body had been placed. Before the trial court the defendant argued...

State v. Todd, 369 N.C. 707 (June 9, 2017)

The Supreme Court held that it had jurisdiction to decide an appeal from a divided decision of the Court of Appeals reversing a trial court’s ruling denying a MAR. The defendant was convicted of armed robbery. He was unsuccessful on his direct appeal. The defendant then filed an MAR arguing that...

State v. Thomsen, 369 N.C. 22 (Aug. 19, 2016)

The Court of Appeals had subject-matter jurisdiction to review, pursuant to the State’s petition for writ of certiorari, a trial court’s grant of its own motion for appropriate relief (MAR). The defendant pleaded guilty to rape of a child by an adult offender and to sexual offense with a child...

State v. Stubbs, 368 N.C. 40 (Apr. 10, 2015)

Under G.S. 15A-1422, the court of appeals had subject matter jurisdiction to review the State’s appeal from a trial court’s order granting the defendant relief on his motion for appropriate relief. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that Appellate Rule 21 required a different conclusion...

State v. Rollins, 367 N.C. 114 (Oct. 4, 2013)

The court per curiam affirmed the decision below, State v. Rollins, 224 N.C. App. 197 (Dec. 4, 2012), in which the court of appeals had held, over a dissent, that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s MAR without an evidentiary hearing. The MAR asserted...

State v. Rhodes, 366 N.C. 532 (June 13, 2013)

Reversing the court of appeals, the court held that information supporting the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) was not newly discovered evidence. After the defendant was convicted of drug possession offenses, his father told a probation officer that the contraband belonged to him...

The superior court judge erred by “retroactively” applying Structured Sentencing Law (SSL) provisions to a Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) case. The defendant was sentenced under the FSA. After SSL came into effect, he filed a motion for appropriate relief asserting that SSL applied retroactively to...

The court vacated and remanded an opinion by the court of appeals in State v. Williamson, 206 N.C. App. 599 (Sept. 7, 2010) (over a dissent, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to enter a written order with findings of fact and conclusions...

State v. Long, 365 N.C. 5 (Feb. 4, 2011)

With one justice taking no part in consideration of the case and with the other members of the court equally divided, the court affirmed, without opinion, a ruling by the trial court on the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief. The case was before the court on writ of certiorari to review...

On the State’s petition for writ of certiorari, the court reversed the trial court and held that no significant change in the law pertaining to the admissibility of expert opinions in child sexual abuse cases had occurred and thus that the defendant was not entitled to relief under G.S. 15A-1415...

The defendant was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in Gaston County. The evidence of the case largely consisted of mixtures of “touch” DNA profiles found on the victim’s car along with circumstantial evidence based on the defendant’s presence in the area at the time of the murder. The...

The defendant was convicted of obtaining property by false pretenses for selling boxes purportedly containing iPhones that contained only lug nuts. The defendant argued that the sentence of 36 months supervised probation was erroneous because the trial judge imposed a community punishment...

(1) The defendant was convicted of drug offenses in Gaston County on July 5, 2017 and was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation. After reporting for his intake visit with a Gaston County probation officer, the defendant avoided probation officers for several months. Probation officers...

In 1992, the defendant pled guilty to second-degree murder for the killing of a gas station attendant during a robbery. In 2016, after learning that an informant implicated another person in the crime, the defendant filed a motion to test the DNA and fingerprints on evidence found at the...

The defendant was charged with four counts of engaging in sexual acts against a child under 13 and taking indecent liberties with a child. The defendant was alleged to have touched a child, A.M.D., in sexual manner on several occasions over a period of one to two years. The state’s...

The court remanded for correction of two clerical errors. The first error was that the trial court inadvertently checked the box on the Judgment form indicating that it made no written findings because the sentence imposed was within the presumptive range but in fact the trial court sentenced...

Finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by revoking the defendant’s probation, the court remanded for correction of a clerical error. Specifically, the trial court checked the wrong box on the judgment form indicating the basis for the probation revocation.

In this child sexual assault case, the court reversed the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR) seeking a new trial for ineffective assistance of counsel related to opinion testimony by the State’s expert. The defendant was convicted of sexual offenses...

(1) On remand from the state Supreme Court, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by concluding that he was procedurally barred from reasserting in his MAR a dual representation conflict of interest ineffective assistance of counsel claim with respect to attorney...

The court reversed the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s motion for reconsideration and motion for appropriate relief (MAR), holding that the requirement that counsel advise the defendant of the immigration consequences of a plea agreement established by Padilla does not...

(1) The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing without appointing counsel. The statute requires appointment of counsel only on a showing that the DNA testing may be material to the defendant’s claim of wrongful conviction. The burden of...

The court remanded to the trial court to correct a clerical error in a written order. After the jury convicted the defendant of first-degree felony-murder, armed robbery, and felony possession of a firearm, the trial court rendered an oral ruling arresting judgment on the armed robbery...

(1) The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing. The defendant, who pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assaults, filed a pro se motion seeking DNA testing of evidence he alleged was collected by law enforcement, including vials of blood and saliva, a bag...

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing and discovery pursuant to G.S. 15A-269. The defendant was tried for burglary, kidnapping, assault by strangulation, rape, sex offense, and attaining habitual felon status. Evidence at trial included, among...

(1) The court held that it had both jurisdiction and authority to decide whether Anders-type review should be prohibited, allowed, or required in appeals from G.S. 15A-270.1. Exercising this discretionary authority, the court held that Anders procedures apply to appeals...

On appeal from the denial of the defendant’s MAR, the court clarified that the appropriate standard of review is de novo with respect to conclusions of law.

 

The trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter an order denying the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to G.S. 15A-269 while the defendant’s appeal from the original judgment of conviction was pending. The defendant was convicted of an attempted sexual...

State v. Thompson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 809 S.E.2d 340 (Jan. 2, 2018) vacated on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 822 S.E.2d 616 (Feb 1 2019)

Where the record was inconsistent and unclear as to whether the defendant pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana, the court vacated a judgment for that offense and remanded, directing the trial court to “take the necessary steps to resolve the discrepancy between the transcript of plea...

Over a dissent, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that there was a clerical error in the judgment. Although the trial court stated after the jury returned the verdict that it was “going to arrest judgment” on the trafficking by delivery charge, the trial court did not pronounce the...

The defendant was properly required to register as a sex offender and submit to SBM. Although the trial court mistakenly found that the defendant had been convicted of an offense against a minor, the error was clerical where other findings were made that would require the defendant to register...

Where a plea agreement contemplated that the defendant would be sentenced to community punishment and the trial court indicated that it was so sentencing the defendant, the court remanded for correction of a clerical error in the judgment stating that the sentence was an intermediate one.

The trial court made clerical errors in sentencing. It made a clerical error when it stated that it was arresting judgment on convictions vacated by the court of appeals; in context it was clear that the trial court meant to state that it was vacating those convictions. The trial court also...

Because the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to rule on the defendant’s MAR claim alleging a violation of the post-conviction DNA statutes, the portion of the trial court’s order granting the MAR on these grounds is void. The court noted that the General Assembly has provided...

The State could appeal the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s MAR. 

The trial court erred by failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing before granting the MAR. An evidentiary hearing “is not automatically required before a trial court grants a defendant’s MAR, but such a hearing is the general procedure rather than the exception.” Prior case law “dictates that...

The trial court did not have jurisdiction to resentence the defendant for obtaining property by false pretenses, where the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR), which was granted by the trial court, challenged only his conviction for possession of stolen goods, a separate CRS case...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by refusing to appoint counsel to litigate the defendant’s pro se motion for post-conviction DNA testing. Under G.S. 15A-269(c), to be entitled to counsel, the defendant must establish that the DNA testing may be material to his...

In this child sexual assault case, the trial court did not err by refusing to appoint counsel to litigate the defendant’s pro se motion for post-conviction DNA testing. Under G.S. 15A-269(c), to be entitled to counsel, the defendant must establish that the DNA testing may be material to his...

(1) Because the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) alleging ineffective assistance of counsel in this sexual assault case raised disputed issues of fact, the trial court erred by failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing before denying relief. The defendant claimed that counsel was...

The defendant’s assertions in his MAR, filed more than seven years after expiration of the appeal period, that his plea was invalid because the trial court failed to follow the procedural requirements of G.S. 15A-1023 and -1024 were precluded by G.S. 15A-1027 (“Noncompliance with the procedures...

(1) The court dismissed the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by failing to order an inventory of biological evidence under G.S. 15A-269(f). Under the statute, a request for post-conviction DNA testing triggers an obligation for the custodial agency to inventory relevant biological...

Where the judgment form mistakenly contained a reference to “Assault with a Deadly Weapon,” a charge on which the defendant was acquitted, but where the error did not affect the sentence imposed, the court remanded for correction of this clerical error. The court rejected the defendant’s...

(1) The trial court did not err by denying defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing under G.S. 15A-269. Defendant’s motion contained only the following conclusory statement regarding materiality: “The ability to conduct the requested DNA testing is material to defendant[’]s defense...

(1) The trial court did not err by denying defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing under G.S. 15A-269. Defendant’s motion contained only the following conclusory statement regarding materiality: “The ability to conduct the requested DNA testing is material to defendant[’]s defense...

The court held that trial court was not required to hold an evidentiary hearing on the defendant’s motion, noting:

[A] trial court is not required to conduct an evidentiary hearing where it can determine from the trial record and the information in the motion that the defendant has failed...

The post-conviction DNA testing statute does not require the trial court to make findings of fact when denying a motion. “A trial court’s order is sufficient so long as it states that the court reviewed the defendant’s motion, cites the statutory requirements for granting the motion, and...

(1) The trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing. The defendant was convicted of murdering his wife; her body was discovered in a utility shop behind their home. He sought DNA testing of five cigarettes and a beer can that were found in the utility shop...

Where the trial court miscalculated the defendant’s prior record level but where a correction in points would not change the defendant’s sentence, the court treated the error as clerical and remanded for correction. A dissenting judge would have concluded that the error was judicial not clerical...

The court remanded for correction of a clerical error. Specifically, the trial court found at the sentencing hearing that the defendant was a PRL IV offender and ordered him to pay $6,841.50 in attorney’s fees. However, the judgment incorrectly listed him at PRL II and stated that the defendant...

The court remanded for correction of a clerical error where the defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon but the trial court entered judgment for AWDWIK.

The trial court properly denied the defendant’s pro se motion for post-conviction DNA testing where the defendant failed to adequately establish that newer and more accurate tests would identify the perpetrator or contradict prior test results. It reasoned:

...

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State had no avenue to obtain review of a trial court order granting his G.S. 15A-1415 MAR (MAR made more than 10 days after entry of judgment) on grounds that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. The court found that it had...

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State had no avenue to obtain review of a trial court order granting his G.S. 15A-1415 MAR (MAR made more than 10 days after entry of judgment) on grounds that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. The court found that it had authority...

(1) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the State had no avenue to obtain review of a trial court order granting his G.S. 15A-1415 MAR (MAR made more than 10 days after entry of judgment) on grounds that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. The court found that it had...

State v. Stubbs, 232 N.C. App. 274 (Feb. 4, 2014) aff'd on other grounds, 368 N.C. 40 (Apr 10 2015)

The trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s 1973 sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole on a conviction of second-degree burglary, committed when he was 17 years old, violated the Eighth Amendment. The defendant brought a MAR challenging his sentence as...

State v. Stubbs, 232 N.C. App. 274 (Feb. 4, 2014) aff'd on other grounds, 368 N.C. 40 (Apr 10 2015)

The trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s 1973 sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole on a conviction of second-degree burglary, committed when he was 17 years old, violated the Eighth Amendment. The defendant brought a MAR challenging his sentence as...

In a case where the trial court initially sentenced the defendant correctly but then erroneously thought it had used the wrong sentencing grid and re-sentenced the defendant to a lighter sentence using the wrong grid, the court remanded for imposition of the initial correct but more severe...

The trial court did not err by rejecting the defendant’s G.S. 15A-1414 MAR without an evidentiary hearing. 

G.S. 15A-1335 did not apply when on retrial the trial court sentenced the defendant for a different, more serious offense.

Declining to address whether State v. Garris, 191 N.C. App. 276 (2008), applied retroactively, the court held that the defendant’s MAR was subject to denial because the Garris does not constitute a significant change in the substantive or procedural law as required by G.S. 15A-...

At the MAR hearing, the trial court properly excluded the State’s expert witness, who did not testify at the original trial. The court viewed the State’s position as “trying to collaterally establish that the jury would have reached the same verdict based on evidence not introduced at trial.” It...

Where the trial court determined that the defendant had 16 prior record points and was a prior record level V but the judgment indicated that he had 5 prior record points and was a prior record level III, the entries on the judgment were clerical errors.

In this murder case, the trial court properly granted the defendant a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. At trial one of the State’s most important expert witnesses was SBI Agent Duane Deaver, who testified as an expert in bloodstain pattern analysis. Deaver testified that the...

Under G.S. 15A-1445, the State could appeal the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s MAR on the basis of newly discovered evidence. 

State v. Lee, 228 N.C. App. 324 (July 16, 2013)

State could appeal an amended judgment entered after the trial court granted the defendant’s MAR. The trial court entered the amended judgment after concluding (erroneously) that the 2009 amendments to the SSA applied to the defendant’s 2005 offenses.

The trial court did not err by failing to appoint counsel to represent the defendant on a motion for post-conviction DNA testing. The trial court is required to appoint counsel for a motion under G.S. 15A-269 only if the defendant makes a showing of indigence and that the DNA testing is material...

The trial court did not err by failing to make specific findings of fact when denying the defendant’s request for post-conviction DNA testing under G.S. 15A-269. The statute contains no requirement that the trial court make specific findings of fact.

The court adopted the following standard of review of a denial for post-conviction DNA testing: Findings of fact are binding if supported by competent evidence and may not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion; conclusions of law are reviewed de novo. 

(1) The trial court gave the State proper notice when it made a sua sponte oral MAR in open court one day after judgment had been entered. (2) The trial court did not violate the MAR provision stating that any party is entitled to a hearing on a MAR where the State did not request a hearing but...

The trial court did not violate G.S. 15A-1335 when on remand it sentenced the defendant to a term that was longer than he originally received. The trial court initially imposed an illegal term, sentencing the defendant to a presumptive range sentence of 120 to 153 months; the correct presumptive...

A clerical error occurred where the trial court found that it could revoke the defendant’s probation under the Justice Reinvestment Act because the defendant was convicted of another criminal offense while on probation but checked the box on the form indicating that the revocation was based on...

A clerical error occurred in a Fair Sentencing Act case when the trial court found an aggravating factor and went on to sentence the defendant above the presumptive range but failed to check the box on the judgment indicating that the aggravating factor existed. The court remanded for correction...

The court remanded for correction of a clerical error where the trial court announced a fine of $100 but the judgment incorrectly reflected a $500 fine.

The rules of evidence apply to proceedings related to post-conviction motions for DNA testing under G.S. 15A-269. 

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for post-conviction DNA testing where the defendant did not meet his burden of showing materiality under G.S. 15A-269(a)(1). The defendant made only a conclusory statement that "[t]he ability to conduct the requested DNA testing is...

The court held that the trial court erred by summarily denying the defendant’s MAR alleging ineffective assistance. Because the State did not contest that trial counsel’s failure to attach the requisite affidavit to a suppression motion constituted deficient representation, the focus of the...

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion for post-conviction independent DNA testing. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder (based on premeditation and deliberation and felony-murder predicated upon discharge of a weapon into occupied property), discharge of a...

The trial court erred by summarily denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) and accompanying discovery motion. In the original proceeding, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress in part because it was not filed with the required affidavit. After he was...

The court held that Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (Mar. 31, 2010), dealing with ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with advice regarding the immigration consequences of a plea, did not apply retroactively to the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief. Applying ...

State v. Rico, 218 N.C. App. 109 (Jan. 17, 2012) rev’d on other grounds, 366 N.C. 327 (Dec 14 2012)

Where the trial judge erroneously sentenced the defendant to an aggravated term without finding that an aggravating factor existed and that an aggravated sentence was appropriate, a second judge erroneously treated this as a clerical that could be corrected simply by amending the judgment.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the defendant’s motion for appropriate relief (MAR) made under G.S. 15A-1414 without first holding an evidentiary hearing. Given that the defendant’s MAR claims pertained only to mitigating sentencing factors and the defendant had been...

No violation of G.S. 15A-1335 occurred on resentencing. A jury found the defendant guilty of felonious breaking and entering, felonious larceny, felonious possession of stolen goods, and for being a habitual felon. The trial court consolidated the offenses for judgment and sentenced the...

In dicta, the court noted that the trial judge was entitled to modify her ruling on a suppression motion because court was still in session.

State v. Ellison, 213 N.C. App. 300 (July 19, 2011) aff'd on other grounds, 366 N.C. 439 (Mar 8 2013)

The court remanded to the trial court for correction of a clerical error in the judgment so that the judgment would reflect the offense the defendant was convicted of committing (trafficking by transportation versus trafficking by delivery).

Having erroneously arrested judgment on a DWI charge to which the defendant had pleaded guilty, the trial court had authority to correct the invalid judgment and sentence the defendant even after the session ended. Citing State v. Branch, 134 N.C. App. 637 (1999), the court noted in...

The court suggested in dicta that on a motion for appropriate relief (as on appellate review) a defendant may be deemed to have waived errors in jury instructions by failing to raise the issue at trial. However, the court did not decide the issue since it concluded that even when considered on...

Citing, State v. Oliver, 155 N.C. App 209 (2002), the court held that no violation of G.S. 15A-1335 occurred when, after the defendant’s two death sentences for murder were vacated, the trial judge imposed two consecutive life sentences.

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s post-sentencing motion to withdraw a plea without an evidentiary hearing. The defendant’s motion was a motion for appropriate relief. Evidentiary hearings are required on such motions only to resolve issues of fact. In this case, no issue of...

In a case in which the defendant was sentenced as a Class C habitual felon, the court remanded for correction of a clerical error regarding the felony class of the underlying felony.

State v. Moore, 209 N.C. App. 551 (Feb. 15, 2011) rev’d on other grounds, 365 N.C. 283 (Oct 7 2011)

Trial judge’s failure to mark the appropriate box in the judgment indicating that the sentence was in the presumptive range was a clerical error.

Listing the victim on the restitution worksheet as an “aggrieved party” was a clerical error.

The trial court committed a clerical error when, in a written order revoking probation, it found that the conditions violated and the facts of each violation were set forth in a violation report dated October 20, 2008, which was the date of a probation violation hearing, not a violation report...

The court treated as a clerical error the trial court’s mistake on the judgment designating an offense as Class G felony when it in fact was a Class H felony. The court remanded for correction of the clerical error.

On the judicial findings and order for sex offender form, the trial court erroneously indicated that the defendant had been convicted of an offense against a minor under G.S. 14-208.6(1i) when in fact he was convicted of a sexually violent offense under G.S. 14-208.6(5). The court remanded for...

State v. May, 207 N.C. App. 260 (Sept. 21, 2010)

When the trial court intended to check one box on AOC-CR-615 (judicial findings and order for sex offenders) but another box was marked on the form signed by the judge, this was a clerical error that could be corrected on remand.

The inclusion of an incorrect file number on the caption of a transcript of plea was a clerical error where the plea was taken in compliance with G.S. 15A-1022 and the body of the form referenced the correct file number.

Inadvertent listing of the wrong criminal action number on the judgment was a clerical error.

The trial court’s mistake of ordering SMB for a period of ten years (instead of lifetime registration) after finding that the defendant was a recidivist was not a clerical error. 

The trial judge committed a clerical error when he entered judgment for a violation of G.S. 14-34.1(a), the Class E version of discharging a firearm into occupied property. The record showed that, based on the defendant’s prior record level, the judge’s sentence reflected a decision to sentence...

After being found guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping, the defendant was sentenced to consecutive terms of 307-378 months for the rape and 133-169 for the kidnapping. On appeal, the court held that the trial judge erred by allowing the same sexual assault to serve as the...

A defendant does not have a right to appeal a trial judge’s order denying relief following a hearing to evaluate test results.

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