Thursday, December 26, 2013

Capital Trials, 2013

2013, The Year of 1 Death Sentence.

There were four capital trials in 2013:

Death: 1
Mario McNeil, Cumberland County. McNeil refused to put on any case at sentencing, effectively requesting a death sentence.

Life: 2

Andre Hampton, Mecklenburg County.
Robert Dixon, Alamance County.

Less than Life
Terry Broussard, Cumberland County. Jury returned verdict on 2nd degree murder, only. Sentenced to less than 20 years.

Friday, December 20, 2013

NC Supreme Court Criminal Decision, Dec. 20, 2013.

State v. Franklin. Per curiam affirmed, 3-3 (no precedential value). -- Malik Franklin, Mecklenburg County, Judge Lewis.

Post on Decision Below: State v. Franklin. Mecklenburg County.  Appeal of trafficking conviction. -- Malik Franklin.

Defendant was a passenger in a car during a stop for a seat belt violation. Trial court found that consent was given for search (which was disputed).

Held: Search: Defendant had no standing to challenge the search of the car, because he was a passenger. Stop: was valid and no evidence of pre-text. Was not unlawfully prolonged, as total duration was only 10 minutes.

Dissent by Elmore: Stop was pre-textual and unconstitutional.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NC COA Update, Dec. 17, 2013

State v. Cornelius Clark. Murder case.

No error in informing jury, during jury selection, that Defendant had noticed the affirmative defense of self defense, citing N.C.G.S. 15A-1213.

State v. Jimmy Jones. No error in failing to intervene when DA called children in sex case "victims." No error in referring to children as "victims" in this case because, unlike cases where it was found to be error, the defendant did not object and no conflict that sex abuse occurred in this case (rather, just over who was the perpetrator).

State v. Danny Paul. No violation of "law of the case doctrine" where defendant received a higher sentence at resentencing due to new evidence of additional prior felonies for record level purposes.

State v. Frederick Weaver. Licensed security guard who stopped defendant and search him in DWI case was not a state actor under the Fourth Amendment.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NC COA Update, Dec. 3, 2013

State v. Sabur Allah. Insufficient evidence of felony breaking and entering where no evidence of any intent to commit a felony inside the apartment. Here, defendant took victim out of apartment to commit crimes. No intent to commit felonies inside.

State v. Glenn Benters. Upheld trial court suppression, finding search warrant was deficient. Affidavit for search warrant simply said a "reliable confidential informant" says that Defendant is growing marijuana. Police checked electricity records and found them consistent with a grow operation.

State v. Kevin Dahlquist. Upheld warrantless blood draw in DWI case as exigent circumstance/evanescent evidence, where defendant smelled of alcohol, refused breathylzer, and failed a sobriety test. Officer said it would take 4-5 hours to get the warrant, based on past experience. Court upheld, while noting that the better practice would probably be to use video transmission or at least call the magistrate to determine if it really would take that long.

State v. Jeffrey Jones. Upheld SBM program, finding irrelevant that a 2012 U.S. case, US v. Jones, found that GPS tracking constitutes a 4th Amendment search.

State v. Robert Stewart. In nursing home case (multiple homicide in Moore County), found no error in admitting evidence of Defendant's extensive weapons -- including mines, firearms, and ammo -- found in defendant's home as they were relevant to premeditation. No 403 error in admitting 42 crime scene photos. Not cumulative/prejudicial.

State v. Ladarrius Thatcher. Insufficient evidence of 2d murder where all evidence  suggested it was an accident. Remanded for sentencing to involuntary manslaughter.