This post summarizes decisions released by the United States Supreme Court on June 1, 2021 and June 3, 2021. These summaries, written by Shea Denning and Brittany Williams, will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present. Continue reading
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on June 1, 2021. These summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present. Continue reading →
I previously wrote a blog post about North Carolina’s computer-related crime statutes. Two of our computer crimes are accessing computers under G.S. 14-454 and accessing government computers under G.S. 14-454.1. Both statutes prohibit willfully accessing computers for the purpose of committing fraud or obtaining property or services by false pretenses. Both statutes also prohibit unauthorized access to computers, regardless of fraudulent intent. G.S. 14-453 defines authorization as having the consent or permission of the owner—or of the person licensed or authorized by the owner to grant consent or permission—to access a computer, computer system, or computer network in a manner not exceeding the consent or permission. I’ve gotten several questions recently about the scope of unauthorized access under these statutes, and today’s post examines how these laws may be applied. Continue reading →
By now, we’re all aware of last week’s crisis that caused people to hurry to the pumps and fill up on gas. If not, here’s the news: a hacker group launched a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, a company that operates pipelines for gasoline, causing shortages of gas and panic buying on the east coast. Most likely, any criminal action against the group will happen at the federal level, but this post highlights relevant North Carolina laws that could apply if this or any similar acts are prosecuted within this jurisdiction. Continue reading →
If you haven’t, Catfish is a TV show that uncovers stories of online romantic relationships in which one person is involved with (and has usually sent money to) another person they have never seen. Some of the “couples” will have communicated online for several months without having ever seen one another, and the investigation usually reveals that the person on the other end was not who they claimed to be.
The show gave rise to the popular term “catfish,” which Merriam-Webster defines as the act of deceiving someone by creating a false personal profile online. Though it may be the most common, catfishing is merely one form of online impersonation. While many people may find it entertaining, catfishing and other methods of online impersonation can come with serious consequences.
My colleague Jamie Markham and I have received quite a few questions lately about jail credit for consolidated sentences. Jamie has written several blog posts over the years explaining the various jail credit laws. However, there are no statutes or case law that govern the peculiar scenarios that come up regarding consolidated sentences. Continue reading →
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on March 2, 2021. As always, they will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present. Continue reading →
About a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, an increasing number of businesses have transitioned to touchless and contactless payments, with the use of cash taking a backseat to debit and credit cards. Not coincidentally, with increased use of financial cards comes increased financial card theft. Continue reading →
In North Carolina, victims of domestic violence are protected by both civil and criminal laws. Our state’s Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) laws are in Chapter 50B of the General Statutes. A person seeking relief under Chapter 50B may file a civil action in district court alleging acts of domestic violence and seeking entry of a protective order. If the court enters a DVPO, a violation can have criminal consequences. This post reviews the criminal offenses involving violations of DVPOs.
Imagine a case of domestic violence in which the perpetrator physically and violently assaults a victim. The perpetrator punches the victim with his fist, grabs the victim by the throat and strangles her, and grabs the nearest object and hits her over the head. The victim suffers a broken jaw, black eye, and a concussion and sustains bruising to the neck.
Assuming each of these acts occurred within a short and continuous time frame, could the perpetrator be charged with multiple counts of assault or only one? Continue reading →