Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NC Supreme Court Decisions (10/10/08)

The Court issued two criminal decisions:

State v. Haislip, (513PA07), a case on whether to suppress evidence seized from a checkpoint stop was remanded to the trial court for additional findings of facts and conclusions of law, finding an inadequate record upon which to make a decision.

State v. Turnage, (228A08), the Court of Appeals overturned Defendant's burglary conviction where only exterior damage to a home was found and there was no testimony or other evidence placing the Defendant inside the home or that any entry had occurred

First, the Court found adequate evidence that the charged Defendant was the identified perpetrator and reversed that portion of the judgment.

Second, the Court remanded on the element of entry.

To show the the element of entry required for a burglary conviction, “the least entry with the whole or any part of the body, hand, or foot, or with any instrument or weapon, introduced for the purpose of committing a felony, is sufficient to complete the offense.” The Court remanded to the Court of Appeals on the issue of whether an entry had occurred with the following directions:

"Assuming without deciding, that, as a matter of law, the fact of entry for purposes of burglary may be established by an instrument crossing the plane of the door at the moment the glass broke, the conclusive second sentence does not comport with a correct application of the test for a motion to dismiss based on insufficient proof of entry. Under the long-established test for a motion to dismiss as outlined above, if, as a matter of law, the evidence of broken glass permits a reasonable inference of the fact of entry “in that a body part or instrument may have crossed the plane of the door at the moment the glass broke,” id., then the evidence of entry was sufficient to submit to the jury and to withstand a motion to dismiss as to that element of burglary. Thus, the two statements in the above indented quotation cannot lie down together."

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