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Criminal Practice – Indictment Errors – Constitutional – Due Process – Hostile Witness – Armed Robbery

Even though the indictment’s spelling of defendant’s middle name was off by one letter (the sixth letter should have been a “u” instead of a “w”), and even though the unnecessary allegations of defendant’s race and date of birth were wrong, since defendant was not prejudiced in his ability to defend himself against the charges contained in his indictment as a result of these errors, the indictment was not fatally defective.

We find no error in defendant’s convictions of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The victim identified defendant, Joey Raborn, and Abreanne Bowen as the individuals who had robbed him. Furthermore, defendant confirmed to Shelby Police Detective Matt Styers the accuracy of Bowen’s pre-trial statement that the robbery was in retaliation for the victim having previously robbed Bowen’s cousin. Thus, sufficient evidence was offered at trial to establish defendant’s participation in a conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Therefore, the trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to dismiss the conspiracy charge.

Defendant did not raise his due process challenge in the trial court, so he has waived this issue. Even if he had not waived the issue, it nevertheless lacks merit.

Defendant contends that Bowen’s compelled appearance at trial as a witness for the state violated his “due process right to a fair trial under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.” Specifically, he argues that the prosecutor improperly coerced Bowen into testifying by threatening to charge her with obstruction of justice if she refused to do so and by the prosecutor also telling Bowen that she would make inquiries on Bowen’s behalf regarding possible visitation with Bowen’s son if she agreed to testify for the state.

However, defendant does not assert that he intended to call Bowen as a defense witness but was prevented from doing so by the state. Furthermore, the circumstances surrounding Bowen’s agreement to testify as the state’s witness did not result in Bowen testifying more favorably for the state than she otherwise would have. To the contrary, her testimony was largely unhelpful to the state. Accordingly, defendant has failed to show a due process violation.

No error.

State v. Stroud (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-157-18, 18 pp.) (Mark Davis, J.) Appealed from Cleveland County Superior Court (Robert Ervin, J.) M. Denise Stanford for the state; Anne Bleyman for defendant. N.C. App.


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