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Tag Archives: jury instruction

They Said It (access required)

Defense counsel’s unsuccessful argument for a jury instruction: “Because I want it and I don’t have to give a reason for it, Your Honor.” State v. King, North Carolina Court of Appeals unpublished opinion, June 6, 2015.

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Criminal Practice – Cocaine Trafficking – Constitutional – Ineffective Assistance Claim – Jury Instruction – Lesser Included Offense – Prosecutor’s Summation – Expectation of Privacy – Constructive Possession (access required)

State v. Rodelo (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-07-0015, 19 pp.) (Chris Dillon, J.) Appealed from Randolph County Superior Court (V. Bradford Long, J.) N.C. App. Holding: In analyzing defendant’s argument that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to request ...

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Criminal Practice – Discovery – Expert Testimony – Translation – Admissible – No Prejudice – Jury Instruction – Knowledge (access required)

State v. Aguilar-Ocampo During discovery, the state produced a transcript of an audio-video recording of the drug deal at issue; however, shortly before trial, the state realized that the translator was not certified by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The state had the recording translated by an AOC-certified translator and provided the new translation to defendant a few days before trial. Although the trial court erroneously failed to recognize that the translation consisted entirely of an expert’s opinion and that the state had therefore failed to comply with the discovery requirements of G.S. § 15A-903(a)(2), we nevertheless discern no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s failure to strike the transcript or the translator’s testimony.

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Tort/Negligence – Fraud – Reasonable Reliance – Jury Instruction – Burden-Shifting – Real Property – No Inspection (access required)

Flanary v. Wilkerson In this case of a home buyer alleging fraud against the home sellers, the trial court instructed the jury, “Even where a plaintiff’s reliance is unreasonable, in close cases, sellers who intentionally and falsely represent material facts so as to induce a party to action should not be permitted to say in effect, ‘You ought not to have trusted me. If you had not been so gullible, ignorant or negligent, I could not have deceived you.‘“

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Criminal Practice – Jury Instruction – Diminished Capacity – Insufficient Evidence (access required)

State v. McDowell Even though defendant’s experts testified about his mental conditions, they never testified that these conditions left him unable to premeditate, deliberate or form the specific intent to kill; therefore, defendant was not entitled to a jury instruction on diminished capacity. We find no error in defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder.

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Criminal Practice – Possession of a Controlled Substance at a Prison – Handcuffed Defendant – Jury Instruction – No Prejudice   (access required)

State v. Stanley Although the trial court should have instructed the jury that it was not to consider the fact that defendant was handcuffed when it weighed evidence or determined the issue of guilt, given the evidence against defendant and the trial court’s instruction about incarceration, defendant was not prejudiced by the trial court’s failure to give the instruction about the handcuffs.

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Criminal Practice – Self-Defense – Jury Instruction – Level of Force (access required)

State v. Whetstone If an ex-Marine’s assault on defendant only put defendant in danger of bodily injury or offensive physical contact, defendant was not entitled to defend himself with deadly force. However, defendant put on evidence that he had a reasonable belief that the ex-Marine’s assault put defendant in danger of death or great bodily harm, thus entitling defendant to defend himself with deadly force.

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