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Tag Archives: Criminal Practice

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Meth Manufacture – Conditions of Release – Access to Family Members (access required)

U.S. v. Worley The 4th Circuit affirms a 100-month prison sentence for a defendant convicted of methamphetamine manufacture and related crimes, but vacates certain special conditions of release restricting defendant’s access to family members, including his girlfriend and children, based on two 2000 state convictions for carnal knowledge of a child.

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Criminal Practice – Prisons & Jails – Possession of Contraband – Shank in Shoe – Sentencing – Career Offender – Violent Crime (access required)

U.S. v. Mobley An inmate convicted of possessing contraband, after he was discovered with a shank in his shoe, can be sentenced as a career offender because possession of the shank qualified as a crime of violence under the federal sentencing guidelines, the 4th Circuit says.

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Criminal Practice – Child Pornography – Sentencing – Restitution – Insufficient Findings (access required)

U.S. v. Burgess The 4th Circuit affirms defendant’s conviction of receipt and possession of child pornography, but vacates a restitution order requiring defendant to pay $305,220 to “Vicki,” an identified victim; the district court did not make specific findings regarding the elements of restitution, as required under the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act, 18 U.S.C. 2259, and the case is remanded for calculation of the loss this specific defendant caused the victim portrayed in the pornographic material possessed by defendant.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Open Courts – Courtroom Closure – Rape Victim’s Testimony – Findings Required – Sentencing – Florida Burglary Conviction (access required)

State v. Rollins Since the trial court closed the courtroom during the testimony of the rape victim without making the findings required by Waller v. Georgia, 467 U.S. 39 (1984), we remand for a hearing on the Waller factors.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Expert Witnesses – DNA Evidence – Prosecutor’s Comments (access required)

State v. Harris The population geneticists -- who made the determinations about the probability of an unrelated, randomly chosen person being the one who contributed to the DNA mixture taken from the victim’s rape kit – were unavailable to testify. Nonetheless, SBI Agent Mackenzie Dehaan gave her opinion that the statistical information upon which she relied in developing her opinion regarding the significance of the DNA match was of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field of DNA analysis, such being admissible under N.C. R. Evid. 703. The trial court did not err in admitting the statistical information.

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Criminal Practice – Competency to Stand Trial – Psychiatrist’s Testimony – Confession (access required)

State v. Robinson Given the evidence presented to the trial court indicating a significant possibility that defendant may have been incompetent to proceed with trial, the trial court abused its discretion when it denied defendant’s motion to continue the proceedings until defendant’s competency to stand trial could be evaluated.

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Criminal Practice – Carrying a Concealed Weapon – Indictment’s Sufficiency – Concealed-Carry Permit – Drinking Alcohol (access required)

State v. Mather Where the magistrate’s order alleged that “the defendant … unlawfully and willfully did carry concealed about the defendant’s person while off the defendant’s own premises a gun, .25 CAL BROWNING PISTOL,” the order was sufficient to charge defendant with a violation of G.S. § 14-269(a1). Where the state’s evidence showed that defendant left his home and entered a bar with a handgun concealed about his person, this evidence corresponds with the essential and material allegations of the magistrate’s order.

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Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Jury Nullification – Appeals — Attorneys – Ineffective Assistance Claim – MAR (access required)

State v. Kelly Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on jury nullification. We know of no authority for the trial court to instruct the jury on jury nullification, which is the jury’s knowing and deliberate rejection of the evidence or refusal to apply the law. If defendant’s argument were to be adopted, it would lead to chaos and an absence of justice in North Carolina.

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