Earlier this month, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided State v. Golder, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___, 2020 WL 1650899 (April 3, 2020). Before that decision, there were somewhat tricky rules about how to preserve appellate review of all issues in a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of the evidence. No more. The Golder decision clarifies that all sufficiency issues are preserved with a properly timed motion to dismiss at trial. This decision overrules a line of cases holding otherwise and simplifies the process of preserving sufficiency issues at trial for defense counsel. Read on for the details.
I recently taught a class of law students about criminal pleadings. We discussed proper pleadings and defective pleadings, and the State’s ability to bring new charges against a defendant after a case is dismissed due to a fatal defect in the pleading. It was an interesting conversation, and it prompted me to look into the matter a bit more. This post summarizes the law.
A fatal defect in an indictment occurs when the indictment fails to allege an essential element of the crime charged. A fatal variance, by contrast, occurs when the facts brought out at trial don’t match up with those alleged in the indictment, and this difference occurs as to an essential element. Here are two illustrative … Read more