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Opinion Digests

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Evidence – Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR) – Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Defendant failed to show the Irick issue his appellate counsel did not raise on appeal was plainly stronger than the two issues his appellate counsel raised on appeal. As a result, defendant has not proven his appellant counsel’s performance was deficient and cannot demonstrate he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Because defendant cannot show his […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Stop and Frisk – Motion to Suppress Evidence – Search and Seizure – Probable Cause

Although law enforcement had reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk defendant based on an informant’s tip, defendant did not voluntary consent to the search of his backpack, and the search was not otherwise justified by probable cause. We reverse the trial court’s order denying defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence. Defendant was indicted for unlawfully […]

Sep 25, 2023

Contract – Breach of Contract – Child Support – Separation Agreement

The trial court properly dismissed plaintiff wife’s claim for breach of contract as concerns the parties’ son’s future college expenses; accordingly, we affirm the court’s order as to this provision. Regarding the issues of child support, health insurance, and uninsured medical expenses, however, the trial court erred in dismissing wife’s claim for breach of contract, […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Murder by Torture – Judges – Bite Marks – Miranda

In defendant’s capital trial for the murder of a four-year-old, Judge Ammons did not err in refusing to disqualify Judge Lock from presiding over the trial. Defendant has not established an appearance of impropriety in Judge Lock’s service as the presiding judge over defendant’s trial due to Judge Lock’s prior position as a prosecutor of […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Murder – Castle Doctrine – Aggressor Instruction – Standard of Review

In reviewing the trial court’s decision to instruct the jury on the aggressor doctrine, the Court of Appeals should have reviewed the record in the light most favorable to the state. The Court of Appeals’ mistake of reviewing the record in the light most favorable to defendant led to its erroneous reversal of defendant’s second-degree […]

Sep 25, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Negligent Misrepresentation – Pleading Standard – Breach of Contract

In order to state a claim for negligent misrepresentation, a complaint must meet the same pleading standard as a claim for fraud, i.e., N.C. R. Civ. P. 9(b). We affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court’s grant of defendants’ motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. Defendants (PRA) bought the assets of […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Voluntary Manslaughter – Contents of Victim’s Phone – Weapon Possession

Defendant claimed self-defense after shooting the victim in the back, and he argues that the state opened the door to the contents of the victim’s phone – text messages alluding to violence and photos of the victim holding a gun – by eliciting testimony from the victim’s parents that he was a “happy guy” and […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Murder – Evidence of Others as Perpetrators – Multiple Participants

Defendants, a man and a woman, sought to introduce evidence that a different man and woman committed the assault, attempted robbery and murder for which defendants stood trial. However, the state’s evidence did not rule out the possibility that all four individuals were involved in the crimes. Since defendants’ proffered evidence would not have been […]

Sep 25, 2023

Labor & Employment – ERISA – ERISA Section 502(a)(1)(B) – ERISA Section 502(a)(3) – Employer-Based Health Benefits

The district court properly held that money was not one of the “benefits” that plaintiff’s now-deceased son was “due” “under the terms of his” employer-based health benefits program, so it was right to dismiss the mother’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) Section 502(a)(1)(B) claim. However, while the district court correctly noted that compensatory, “make-whol[...]

Sep 25, 2023

Constitutional – Revival of Statute of Limitations – Facial Constitutional Challenge – Law of the Land Clause – Substantive Due Process

Defendant Gaston County Board of Education (the “Board”), which allegedly failed to protect the children in its care from a sexually abusive employee over a period of years, asked us to elevate a purely procedural statute of limitations defense into an inviolable constitutional right to be free from any civil liability for whatever misdeeds would […]

Sep 25, 2023

Contract – Public Records Act – Third-Party Possession – Constructive Possession

The question of whether records held solely by Ernst & Young (EY) as part of the contract between defendant City of Charlotte and EY are subject to the Public Records Act is not moot. Reversed and remanded. Plaintiff Gray Media LLC asked the court to consider whether records held by a third party are subject […]

Sep 25, 2023

Criminal Practice – Plea Agreement – Sentencing Addition – Withdrawal

The parties entered into a plea agreement pursuant to which defendant would be sentenced to supervised probation. When the trial judge decided to include, as a special condition of probation, that defendant serve 30 days in jail, G.S. § 15A-1024 required the judge to allow defendant to withdraw his guilty plea. The trial court erred […]

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