The Supreme Court on Miranda: Shatzer and Powell

The United States Supreme Court has decided two Miranda cases in the past two days. The prosecution won both cases. Tuesday, the Court decided Florida v. Powell. In Powell, the defendant was arrested, apparently for robbery. Before questioning him, the police told him, inter alia, that “[y]ou have the right to talk to a lawyer … Read more

Personal Characteristics and “Custody” for Miranda Purposes

The North Carolina Supreme Court recently decided In re J.D.B., a close and interesting juvenile case. I mentioned it briefly here when it divided the court of appeals. It has implications well beyond the juvenile context, which I’ll unpack at the end of this post. The basic facts are as follows: Chapel Hill police suspected … Read more

Knowing and Voluntary Miranda Waivers

The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, recently decided a very interesting Miranda case. Garner v. Mitchell, available here, is a capital case.  The defendant stole a woman’s purse, took a taxi to her house, robbed it, and set it on fire to conceal his fingerprints, killing five of the six children who were sleeping in … Read more


Statutory Changes Related to Juvenile Interrogation and Secure Custody Orders

This post covers recent statutory changes related to the custodial interrogation of youth who are 16 and 17 years of age and to the issuance and execution of secure custody orders in delinquency cases. All of these changes are contained in Session law 2023-114 and will apply to offenses committed on or after December 1, … Read more

Case Summary — State v. Richardson, No. 272A14 (N.C. Sept. 1, 2023).

Presented with an appalling set of facts, the North Carolina Supreme Court unanimously upheld the defendant’s convictions for murder, kidnapping, sex offense, and felony child abuse.  The majority affirmed a sentence of death.  Justice Berger’s concurring opinion, addressing only a Miranda issue, was joined by four other justices, making it “the supplemental opinion of the … Read more


The Adolescent Brain and Mens Rea

Delinquency adjudications and criminal convictions of minors who have been transferred to Superior Court for trial as adults both require that the elements of the offense charged are proved beyond a reasonable doubt, including that the required criminal state of mind, or mens rea, existed.  The adolescent mind has been the subject of substantial scientific … Read more


Case Summaries: N.C. Supreme Court (April 28, 2023) and N.C. Court of Appeals (May 2, 2023)

This post summarizes one published criminal opinion from the Supreme Court of North Carolina released on April 28, 2023, and three published criminal opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on May 2, 2023. These summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from … Read more