Friday, January 25, 2013

NC Supreme Court Criminal Decisions, Jan. 25, 2013

State v. Carver. Per curiam affirmed.

Here's what I wrote about the COA decision:

State v. Carver. Gaston County. 1st Degree Murder. LWOP.

Victim found dead beside her car on the shore of the Catawba River. Defendant and his cousin were fishing close-by at the time the victim was discovered and near the time she was strangled to death. DNA in the car matched Carver and his cousin's profile. Carver denied ever touching the car. Defendant found guilty of 1st degree murder. Defendant described the victim as a "little thing," even though he maintained he'd never seen her.

First, this was sufficient evidence.

Second, during deliberations, the jury asked, "Are we still to consider acting in concert?" They were not instructed on this. Instead of saying "no," the court, without objection, just re-read the instructions. This was not error and not preserved.

Hunter dissents, saying there was not sufficient evidence. Cannot reasonably infer guilt from the circumstantial evidence of touch DNA, which is less reliable, on the outside of the car. His cousin's touch DNA was found inside the car. Wasn't found on any ligatures.

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