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Plain Error

Jun 21, 2018

No suppression motion, no appeal for plain error

  Good things don’t always come to those who wait. Take, for instance, the matter of State v. Juan Miller, which centers on a defendant who waited until his case was at the North Carolina Court of Appeals to argue that a Greensboro police officer violated his Fourth Amendment rights during a traffic stop. Miller’s […]

Jan 3, 2018

Court distinguishes ineffective assistance and plain error

A North Carolina “career offender” serving 25 years after pleading guilty to gun and drug charges is looking at some degree of relief after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 21 that the standards of review for plain error and for ineffective assistance of counsel are different. Appellant Jolon Carthorne Sr. in […]

Dec 5, 2012

Criminal Practice – Defendant’s Absence – Discovery Hearing – No Plain Error

U.S. v. Gonzales-Flores On plain error review, the 4th Circuit holds that a district court did not err in holding a hearing not attended by defendant on defense counsel’s motion in limine to exclude prosecution expert witnesses identified only two days before trial.

Oct 17, 2012

Criminal Practice – Sex Offenses – Minor Victims – Expert Testimony – Credibility – No Plain Error

State v. Black The state’s expert was improperly allowed to assert that defendant’s daughter was a sexually abused child despite the lack of physical evidence of abuse.

Sep 18, 2012

Criminal Practice – Weapon Possession – Actual or Constructive — Jury Instructions – Plain Error

State v. Perry Where (1) the evidence only supported a theory that defendant actually possessed a pistol, (2) the state told the jury that this case only involved constructive possession, and (3) the trial court charged the jury on both actual and constructive possession, the trial court’s failure to answer the jury’s subsequent questions about possession resulted in plain error.

Feb 10, 2012

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Confrontation Clause – Drug Analysis – Lay Witness – Plain Error

State v. Burrow The pills seized from defendant were identified only in an SBI report. The SBI analyst did not testify, and there was no indication that he was unavailable. It was plain error for the trial court to admit the SBI report through the testimony of a lay witness, a police detective.

Jun 10, 2011

Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Plain Error – Lumping Defendants Together

State v. Adams The trial court's instructions allowed the jury to consider defendants' guilt collectively, rather than individually. This was plain error.

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