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Criminal Practice

Sep 11, 2023

Criminal Practice – Kidnapping & Sexual Assault – Separate Restraint & Confinement

Even though, after sexually assaulting the victim in her bedroom, defendant also sexually assaulted her in the bathroom, the state produced adequate evidence to show that defendant refused to allow the victim to go to the bathroom alone or to reach the bedroom door when she left the bathroom. The state presented sufficient evidence of […]

Sep 11, 2023

Criminal Practice – Home Invasion – Separate Conspiracies – Sentencing – Probation Violation

As a result of a home invasion, defendant was convicted of three conspiracies: conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to commit burglary, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. However, the agreement to commit armed robbery was part of the agreement to commit burglary, as the crime of burglary includes a home invasion with the intent to […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Enhancements – Assaulting an Officer & Gun Possession

In response to a call, police found defendant’s vehicle stopped at a stop sign with the engine running; defendant was unconscious in the driver’s seat with a gun in his hand. After one officer took the gun out of defendant’s hand, a second officer attempted to remove him from the vehicle. Defendant awoke and started […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – MAR – Alford Plea – Recanted Statement – No Testimony

G.S. § 15A-1415(c) allows a defendant who entered an Alford plea to move for appropriate relief based on recanted testimony. However, since there was no trial, there was no testimony. The fact that a witness subsequently recanted her statement to police did not entitle defendant to relief from his plea. We dismiss defendant’s appeal and […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – Larceny – Intent – In-Court Identification – Other Evidence

During a home invasion, defendant used force to take the keys to victim Perry’s truck; however, Perry testified that defendant took the truck on a “joy ride,” and another eyewitness testified she understood that, when defendant left, his accomplices waited in the home for defendant to return so they could leave. The robbery began with […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – Jury & Jurors – County of Residence

During defendant’s murder trial in Person County, the court learned that, a week before trial, Juror No. 4 had moved to Durham County. Although Juror No. 4 told the court that “half [his] stuff” was still at his mom’s home and that he still spent half his nights in Person County, it was within the […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – Death Penalty – Competency – Jury & Jurors – Voir Dire Questions

Where defense counsel strenuously opposed court involvement in their investigation into defendant’s competency, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed defense counsel to have defendant examined by a psychiatrist and a psychologist hired by the defense. We affirm the district court’s judgment imposing the death penalty. To be sure, 18 U.S.C. […]

Aug 16, 2023

Criminal Practice – Heroin Possession & Conspiracy – Corpus Delicti – Credibility Cross-Examination

When law enforcement officers entered a home looking for two suspects, they found defendant, 39.98 grams of heroin and one of the suspects they had been looking for, Justin Riddle. This evidence was sufficient to corroborate defendant’s confession that “Justin gave him the dope for bringing him customers.” The rule of corpus delicti did not […]

Aug 16, 2023

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Suspicious Exchange – Meth & Cocaine Possession

Based on the testimony of Officer Price of the Kings Mountain Police Department, the trial court found that two vehicles, one containing defendant, entered the parking lot of a shopping center on a Sunday night shortly before 10:00 p.m., a time when a laundromat was the only open and nearby business. Defendant exited the vehicle, […]

Aug 16, 2023

Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Conflict of Interest – Ineffective Assistance Claim – Cell Phone

Surveillance cameras in the jail revealed that defendant’s attorney handed his cell phone to defendant while visiting him in jail, potentially in violation of G.S. § 14-258.1(d), which makes it a Class H felony to give a mobile phone to a jail inmate. An assistant district attorney sought advice from the State Bar as to […]

Aug 16, 2023

Criminal Practice – Methamphetamine Possession – Hearsay Evidence – Police Body Cam Footage

Under subpoena, the driver of a car – in which methamphetamine had been found – showed up for the first morning of the defendant-passenger’s trial for possession of the methamphetamine, but she failed to return that afternoon or thereafter. The trial court admitted police body camera footage into evidence. It showed the driver saying “anything” […]

Aug 16, 2023

Criminal Practice – Probation Revocation – Absconding – Incorrect Contact Information

Even though defendant contacted her probation officer once by phone shortly after her probation began, (1) she gave incorrect contact and residence information; (2) her mother, with whom she ostensibly lived, had not seen her since her release from jail; and (3) over a period of months, probation officers called the jail, searched arrest records, […]

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