Kidnapping by Pursuit: Evading Criminal Liability in State v. Andrews.

In a case decided earlier this month, the Court of Appeals overturned the defendant’s conviction for kidnapping when the evidence showed only an unsuccessful carjacking. See State v. Andrews, No. COA23-675 (N.C. Ct. App. July 2, 2024). Given the particular facts of the case – the defendant threatened the victim with a firearm, the victim fled in his car, and the defendant gave chase in his van – the Court of Appeals might have concluded that a car chase does not constitute the sort of confinement, restraint, or removal that G.S. 14-39 (kidnapping) was intended to address. Instead, it held that the defendant’s high-speed pursuit of the victim was a restraint that was not sufficiently distinct from that inherent in the attempted armed robbery. Citing double jeopardy concerns, the Court of Appeals reversed the kidnapping conviction. This post examines the opinion in Andrews.

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Reportable Kidnapping

In the course of robbing a convenience store, a man restrains a 17-year-old clerk. Suppose the parties work out a plea to second-degree kidnapping. Everything is fine until the judge advises the defendant of the maximum permissible punishment for his Class E crime: 136 months. “136 months?” his lawyer said, puzzled. “I thought it would be 88.” “It would be,” the court replied, “if this crime didn’t require registration as a sex offender.”

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A Multiple Conviction Issue in Kidnapping Cases

In a recent case, State v. Holloman, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred by convicting the defendant of both first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault when the sexual assault raised the kidnapping to first-degree. Since the issue is a recurring one, let’s review the rules. A person is guilty of … Read more