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Tag Archives: new trial

Criminal Procedure – Murder — Brady Error — New Trial (access required)

Wolfe v. Clarke A defendant convicted of murder-for-hire has shown that state prosecutors violated Brady v. Maryland when they intentionally withheld a detective’s report about conversation with the chief prosecution witness who said defendant asked him to commit the murder, and the 4th Circuit grants defendant’s § 2254 petition in this murder-for-hire case.

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Criminal Practice – Jury & Jurors – Wikipedia Research – Cockfighting Charges – New Trial (access required)

U.S. v. Lawson A juror’s use of Wikipedia to research an element of a criminal offense violated defendant’s right to a fair trial on illegal “cockfighting” charges, and the 4th Circuit vacates defendant’s conviction for violating an animal fighting statute, 7 U.S.C. § 2156(a), and conspiracy convictions of defendants related solely to the animal fighting activities.

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Criminal Practice – Motion for Appropriate Relief – New Trial – Newly Discovered Evidence – Drug Possession – Father’s Admission (access required)

State v. Rhodes At defendant’s trial for drug possession, defendant’s father “plead the Fifth” when he was asked whether the drugs belonged to him, and defendant’s mother refused to testify against her husband. After defendant was convicted and placed on probation, defendant’s father admitted that the drugs were his. The judge who presided over defendant’s trial and motion for appropriate relief correctly found that the father’s admission was newly discovered evidence warranting a new trial.

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Criminal Practice – Extortion – Entitlement – Threats of Violence – First Impression — Evidence – New Trial – Possession of Stolen Goods – Constructive Possession (access required)

State v. Privette Even if defendant was innocent of the charges for which he was jailed, he could still commit extortion by threatening to assault or kill the guilty party if he did not turn himself in. Nevertheless, evidence of hypothetical violence (what defendant said he would do to his wife if she were a man) should not have been admitted.

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Civil Practice – Damages – Insufficient Award – Amended Judgment – New Trial (access required)

Caliber Builders, LLC v. Waste Water Systems of North Carolina, Inc. The plaintiff-contractor presented evidence that it paid the defendant-supplier $42,750.25 but that the supplier never even ordered the supplies; nevertheless, the jury awarded the contractor only $19,289.45 in damages. Where the trial court found the jury’s verdict to be against the greater weight of the evidence, the court should have granted a new trial on the issue of damages rather than amending the judgment to increase the amount of damages. Poor v. Hill, 138 N.C. App. 19, 530 S.E.2d 838 (2000).

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Criminal Practice – Closing Argument – No Evidence Presented – New Trial – Evidence Preservation – Similar Break-In (access required)

State v. Matthews Even though, during his cross-examination of a prosecution witness, defendant elicited a confirmation that another person had initially been identified as a suspect, defendant did not present evidence within the meaning of Rule 10 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts. Therefore, defendant should have been allowed the final closing argument.

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