Mistake of Fact: A Negating Defense

When a defendant introduces evidence at trial showing that the State has failed to prove some element of the crime, the strategy is sometimes described as a failure of proof or “negating” defense. Mistake of fact is one such negating defense. Mistake of fact offers a defense if it negates a mental state required to … Read more

Reasonable Mistakes and Reasonable Suspicion

The court of appeals issued several opinions yesterday. Among the most interesting is State v. Hopper, a case that addresses when an officer’s mistaken beliefs can support an investigative stop. The defendant in Hopper was driving on Piedmont Circle, a loop road in an apartment complex in Winston-Salem. It was raining heavily. An officer noticed … Read more