Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Court of Appeals Criminal Decisions, February 19, 2013

State v. Chisholm. Mecklenburg County.

Search warrant on defendant's house found  13 g of cocaine, 28 g of white substance not drugs, scales, baggies and money.

Sufficient evidence of possession with intent to sell controlled substance and sufficient evidence of possession with intent to sell cocaine. Intent: There were scales, bags and money, sufficient to show intent. Constructive Possession: defendant found sleeping in the bed in the bedroom where the drugs were found and his clothes and personal affects were there too.

State v. Dorman. Durham County.

This is the case where that guy got found with the victim's bones and the state destroyed the body. The one where Tracey Cline said that the body was destroyed pursuant to ME policy, then it turned out that the detective on the case authorized the destruction, even though there was a court order not to destroy evidence. Judge Hudson dismissed the case due to discovery violations (didn't release the victim compensation file that showed the release was authorized by the detective) and destruction of evidence (victim compensation, an group within the DA's office, arranged to have the bones cremated at the family's request) and committed Dorman, as he was clearly unhinged.

First, court erred in finding that the destruction of human remains resulted in a flagrant violation of Brady. For such violation, must show the evidence was suppressed, was favorable to defense, and material to trial. Here, the "favorable" portion was speculative. As the bones are gone, the defense can only speculate that they would have been helpful. Even though the state may have acted in bad faith, there is no evidence that the destruction of the evidence irreparably prejudiced the defendant. Further, the court could have fashioned other relief that could have been helpful.

In short, as we all know, the courts have eviscerated the destruction of evidence claim and it is nearly impossible to get relief under it.

Second, the failure of the state to correct material misrepresentation was not a Napue claim. That has to do with testimony to juries, not to courts in pretrial matters.

State v. Thomas. Mecklenburg County.

Satellite-based monitoring case. Defendant convicted for indecent liberties. Defendant was not a recidivist and this wasn't an aggravated offense. The risk assessment by DOC showed low risk of reoffending. The court found that the victim was traumatized and the defendant took advantage of a position of authority and ordered SBM (finding that the "highest level of monitoring" was appropriate).

Held: These additional findings were not supported by the evidence. Remanded for resentencing.

State v. Williams.Wake County.

Appeal of motion to suppress in a DWI stop.

Sufficient probable cause to arrest where defendant was found lying, intoxicated, next to a single car accident and drunkenly spit in the cops face as they approached him.

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