Darian Mosley’s sentence for second degree murder was vacated last week because the jury did not specify whether he acted with (1) hatred, ill-will or spite, (2) intentionally and without justification, or (3) a depraved heart when he shot and killed his girlfriend, Amy Parker, in April 2013. The court of appeals held in State v. Mosley that, without knowing the theory of malice that supported the verdict, the trial judge erred in sentencing Mosley as a Class B1 felon. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to sentence Mosley for a Class B2 felony. It also recommended actions for trial courts instructing juries in future murder cases.
Jeff wrote on Monday about efforts by North Carolina government officials to combat the opioid epidemic.The initiatives he highlighted, such as addiction treatment and needle exchange programs, primarily attack the problem from a public health perspective. Jeff noted the contrast between this approach and the criminal-drug-law enforcement response to the spread of crack cocaine in the 1990s.
That’s not to say, however, that the criminal justice system isn’t responding to the current crisis. In counties across the State, including New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Pitt, Union, and Wake, prosecutors are pursuing second-degree murder charges against defendants who are alleged to have provided the opioids leading to victims’ deaths.
This post explores the basis for murder charges based on the unlawful distribution of drugs and what the State must prove at trial to establish a defendant’s guilt.
In State v. Schalow (Dec. 20, 2016), the trial court’s error in declaring a mistrial led to a successful claim of double jeopardy by the defendant and allowed him to avoid further prosecution for attempted murder. Schalow sheds light on the relatively obscure (at least to me) law of mistrials and double jeopardy.
The court of appeals’ recent decision in State v. Pierce, __ N.C. App. __ (October 18, 2011), analyzed whether a defendant could properly be convicted of second degree murder for the death of a law enforcement officer who was speeding to assist another officer who in turn was chasing the defendant as he fled in … Read more
Jeff wrote here about a recent high-profile case in which a defendant, Raymond Cook, was charged with multiple felony offenses after he drove while impaired and crashed into a young woman’s car in North Raleigh, killing her. In Cook’s case, the jury found the defendant guilty of impaired driving, involuntary manslaughter and felony death by … Read more
I wrote here about the court of appeals’ recent ruling in State v. Davis that expert testimony calculating the defendant’s alcohol concentration based on odor alone was improperly admitted at defendant’s trial on second-degree murder, impaired driving, and other charges arising from a fatal hit-and-run accident. This post addresses the court’s ruling in Davis as … Read more
Our murder statute, G.S. 14-17, defines first-degree murder, then proceeds as follows: “All other kinds of murder, including that which shall be proximately caused by the unlawful distribution of opium . . . cocaine . . . or methamphetamine, when the ingestion of such substance causes the death of the user, shall be deemed murder … Read more
Among the most recent batch of opinions issued by the Court of Appeals was State v. Tellez, in which the court upheld the defendant’s conviction of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of felonious hit and run arising from a fatal car crash. Here are the facts: Defendant went to a party in … Read more