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Tag Archives: Criminal Practice

Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Habitual Felon – Habitual Misdemeanor Assault (access required)

State v. HollowayDefendant was indicted and convicted on two counts of habitual misdemeanor assault, a substantive crime and a class H felony. Defendant was also indicted and convicted on two counts of attaining habitual felon status as defined in G.S. § 14-7.1. Therefore, defendant was properly sentenced as a class C felon. We affirm defendant’s two consecutive sentences of 108 to 139 months.

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Criminal Practice – Juvenile — Delinquency Proceedings – Attempted First Degree Sex Offense (access required)

In re J.J. Where both the adjudication and dispositional orders in this case fail to state any written findings of fact as mandated by the N.C. Juvenile Code, the case is remanded to the trial court for entry of the statutorily mandated written findings of fact in these orders. No prejudicial error in part; vacated and remanded in part.

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Criminal Practice – Second Degree Murder – High Speed Chase – Responding Officer – Weapon Possession (access required)

State v. Pierce An officer was on his way to join a high speed chase of defendant when he swerved to avoid debris in the road, lost control of his vehicle, and died after his vehicle went over the median and hit trees. Defendant’s flight from police showed malice, and the death of a police officer driving to join the pursuit was foreseeable.

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Criminal Practice – Attempted Murder – Constitutional – Confrontation Clause – Unavailable Witness – Probable Cause Hearing Testimony – Intent to Kill – Serious Injury – Sentencing – Aggravating Factors (access required)

State v. Ross At the probable cause hearing, defendant was represented by counsel (who was one of his trial counsel), he had the same motive to cross-examine victim Besies as at trial, and his counsel did in fact cross-examine Besies; therefore, defendant had an adequate opportunity to cross-examine Besies. Since Besies was unavailable to testify at trial, the trial court did not violate defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him when the court admitted Besies’ testimony from the probable cause hearing into evidence.

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Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Ineffective Assistance – Evidence – Child Abuse (access required)

State v. Surratt Defense counsel provided ineffective assistance when he failed to challenge a social worker’s testimony that gave the jury the incorrect impression that defendant’s children were removed from her home because of sexual abuse; they were actually removed based on neglect. Defendant is awarded a new trial.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Corpus Delicti – Defendant’s Confession – Victim’s Statements (access required)

State v. Sweat Defendant confessed to police that the child victim performed fellatio on him. Although the victim did not testify to fellatio during defendant’s trial, her testimony, along with defendant’s extrajudicial confession and the testimony of witnesses to whom the victim described fellatio, satisfied the requirements of the corpus delicti rule.

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Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Proceeding Pro Se – Colloquy with Judge – Sentencing – Federal Conviction (access required)

State v. Watlington Despite defendant’s dissatisfaction with his prior counsel and his clearly stated desire to proceed pro se, the trial court erred by failing to conduct the inquiry required by G.S. § 15A-1242. Therefore, defendant is entitled to a new trial on his indictment for habitual felon status.

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – ACCA – Indecent Liberties — Vacated (access required)

U.S. v. Vann The en banc 4th Circuit vacates a 15-year sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act, imposed on a defendant who pleaded guilty to handgun possession, as the per curiam majority finds it cannot determine from state court charging documents that defendant was convicted under subsection (a)(2) of North Carolina’s Indecent Liberties Statute.

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Criminal Practice – Armed Robbery – Dangerous Weapon – Evidence – Officer’s Testimony – Threat to Victim (access required)

State v. Hill Even though the trial court sustained defendant’s objection and only allowed the jury to consider a police detective’s testimony about an earlier, uncharged armed robbery for corroborative purposes, defendant did not object to the detective’s testimony regarding a later robbery and the robber’s use of a knife to carry out the robbery. We find no error in defendant’s conviction of robbery with a dangerous weapon. We affirm the Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold defendant’s conviction.

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