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Home / Opinion Digests / Criminal Practice / Criminal Practice – Misdemeanor Stalking – Evidence – DVPO – Assault – Superior Court Jurisdiction – Weapons

Criminal Practice – Misdemeanor Stalking – Evidence – DVPO – Assault – Superior Court Jurisdiction – Weapons

The domestic violence protective orders that the victim obtained against defendant in the past were relevant to show defendant’s course of conduct and his motive to commit the offense of stalking. Given that the trial court redacted the DVPOs and properly instructed the jury regarding the state’s burden of proof as well as the jury’s duty “to find the facts,” the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the DVPOs into evidence.

We find no prejudicial error in defendant’s conviction of misdemeanor stalking.

Because the misdemeanor stalking charge against defendant was properly initiated by a presentment, the superior court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the misdemeanor pursuant to G.S. § 7A-271(a)(2).

Where defendant hit and injured his then-girlfriend, Holly, and where Holly told the victim (defendant’s former girlfriend) about the assault, the trial court did not err in allowing Holly to testify that defendant had assaulted her, that she was afraid of defendant, and that defendant told Holly “he would never be arrested again” and “he would not be taken alive.” The testimony demonstrated (1) that the victim had a legitimate basis for her fear of defendant, (2) that her fear was reasonable, and (3) defendant’s course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety.

However, 28 photographs of firearms, ammunition and surveillance equipment found throughout defendant’s home were wholly irrelevant to the issue of whether defendant had committed the offense of stalking. The probative value of the photographs was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, and the trial court should have exercised its discretion by excluding the photographs. However, in light of the overwhelming additional evidence presented at trial, we conclude defendant has failed to show that the admission of the photographs amounted to prejudicial error.

No prejudicial error.

State v. Hobson (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-258-18, 17 pp.) (Rick Elmore, J.) Appealed from New Hanover County Superior Court (Imelda Pate, J.) Stuart Saunders and Teresa Powell for the state; Lisa Costner for defendant. N.C. App.


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