Friday, October 14, 2011

NC Supreme Court Criminal Decisions, 10/7/2011

Conner v. Council of State. See full post, here.

State v. Edwards. Guilford County.  Digged

State v. Hill. Buncombe County. Appeal of robbery with a dangerous weapon conviction. Aff'd.

Sufficient evidence of RWDW where witness to the robbery did not make a clear statement that the defendant had a weapon, where other evidence came in, without objection, of hearsay statements that defendant had a knife during the robbery. "Moreover, even assuming, arguendo, that Detective Taylor’s testimony that Mr. Cole was robbed by a man with a knife was incompetent, “all of the evidence actually admitted, whether competent or incompetent, which is favorable to the State is to be considered by the court in ruling on” a motion to dismiss"

State v. Marler. Haywood County. Digged.  

State v. Moore. Buncombe County. Appeal of restitution award. Rev'd.

Reversing court of appeals and finding insufficient evidence for a restitution award. The only evidence of the value of the damage was a statement of a witness at trial that "she had obtained an estimate for repairs to the house, which totaled “[t]hirtysomething thousand dollars.” This was not sufficiently definite evidence for a restitution award (which was submitted as an unitemized worksheet listing $39,332.49 as the damages).

The general rule for restitution is this: "In applying this standard our appellate courts have consistently engaged in fact-specific inquiries rather than applying a bright-line rule. Prior case law reveals two general approaches: (1) when there is no evidence, documentary or testimonial, to support the award, the award will be vacated, and (2) when there is specific testimony or documentation to support the award, the award will not be disturbed."

The court of appeals vacated. Because their was some evidence, it should have been remanded for less vague evidence.

State v. Nickerson.  Orange County. Reversing lower court decision (post on lower decision here).

Issue is whether unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is a lesser-included offense of possession of stolen goods. An offense is a lesser included if the lesser has no additional elements than the greater.

S.C. ruled that the COA wrongfully ruled that if the general elements of the greater crime could cover the more specific elements of the specific crime, then they are the same element.

Unauthorized Use has an essential element that the taking occur of an motor vehicle. Possession of stolen goods has just a general element of a stolen object. As such, the court held that the unauthorized use had an additional element and is thus not a lesser-included.

Robert Lee Pasteur
State v. Pasteur. Franklin County. Appeal of COA reversal in 1st degree murder conviction (post on lower decision here.) Conviction was vacated below on insufficient evidence, on the basis that one drop of blood on a shoe and being seen on a highway in the vicinity around the time of the victim (his wife)'s disappearance, without more, was insufficient to show guilt.

Supreme Court upheld the decision, in a per curiam decision, with a vote of 3-3. "Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals is left undisturbed and stands without precedential value."

Here's some old press on this case. This man was standing on the finest line between absolute freedom and life without the possibility of parole. Yowzah!

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