Supreme Court Opinions


Filed: 27 September 2019
Mandate: 17 October 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions

Case Title / Description
State v. Helms, (397A18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether the State presented sufficient evidence of an aggravating factor--that defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence, including a domestic relationship--to submit that aggravating factor to the jury.
In re C.B.C., (115A19 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court received sufficient evidence and made adequate findings of fact to support an adjudication of grounds under N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (7).
Hampton v. Cumberland Cty., (60PA18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether landowners' operation of a firing range in an unincorporated area of the county is subject to the county zoning ordinance regulating outdoor firing ranges; whether the Court of Appeals erred in vacating the superior court's order that declared the use legal and remanding the matter to the Board of Adjustment for necessary findings of fact.
Chavez v. Wadlington, (366A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Dismissal of custody action for lack of standing; whether the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts both to prove a close relationship to child and to overcome defendants' protected status as natural parents.
In re Foster, (215A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Review of recommendation to censure.
State v. Ryan, (366A10 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal from a trial court order granting defendant's motion for appropriate relief, vacating defendant's convictions and sentence of death, and ordering a new trial; whether the trial court erred in granting the motion for appropriate relief based upon its conclusion that defendant's counsel was ineffective for failing to call or consult with various available witnesses in a capital proceeding.
In re C.M.C., (109A19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court erred by granting a motion made pursuant to N.C.G.S. 1A-1, Rule 60 after notice of appeal had been filed where the judge who signed the orders terminating parental rights was not the judge who presided over the termination hearing.
In re A.U.D., (133A19 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court erred in failing to make the written findings required by statute; whether the trial court abused its discretion in finding that termination of respondent's parental rights was not in the best interests of the children.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 105 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 16 August 2019
Mandate: 5 September 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 16 August 2019

Case Title / Description
State v. Diaz, (412PA17 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether a nineteen-year-old defendant should receive a new trial after being convicted of child abduction and statutory rape of a fourteen-year-old girl; whether the trial court committed prejudicial error by admitting a copy of defendant's affidavit of indigency at trial, thereby establishing defendant's age, which was an essential element of these offenses.
State v. Courtney, (160PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether double jeopardy prevented defendant from being tried for murder a second time after his first trial ended in a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury and the State then voluntarily dismissed the charge under N.C.G.S. 15A-931.
In re Z.L.W., (116A19 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court abused its discretion by concluding that terminating respondent's parental rights was in the best interests of the juveniles.
Crowell v. Crowell, (31A18 - Published) Author: Justice Cheri Beasley (View COA Opinion)
Divorce proceedings; appeal from trial court's equitable distribution judgment and order; application of N.C.G.S. 50-20; whether the trial court failed to join necessary parties to the equitable distribution action.
State v. Parisi, (65A17-2 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from district and superior court orders granting defendant's motions to suppress and dismissing a charge of driving while impaired; whether the Court of Appeals majority erred by (1) concluding that police had probable cause to arrest and charge defendant with driving while impaired and (2) reversing and remanding the lower courts' orders to the contrary.
In re B.O.A., (264PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court's findings of fact supported its conclusion of law that respondent-mother's parental rights should be terminated pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2).
State v. Osborne, (355PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Whether the State presented sufficient evidence that a rock-like substance found in defendant's hotel room was heroin even though the State did not conduct a scientifically valid chemical analysis of the substance.
In re T.T.E., (238A18 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from adjudication and disposition orders finding the juvenile was delinquent based on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer; whether the trial court erred in not dismissing the charges for insufficient evidence; whether the Court of Appeals erred in vacating the trial court's orders.
State v. McDaniel, (161A18 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering; whether the State presented sufficient evidence to support defendant's convictions based on the doctrine of recent possession of the stolen goods.
State v. Terrell, (55A18 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from defendant's convictions for child sexual offenses following the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence of images recovered from a USB thumb drive owned by him; extent to which the private-search doctrine authorized police to conduct a warrantless search of data stored on the thumb drive; whether there was probable cause for police to obtain a warrant to conduct a further search of the thumb drive.
In re T.N.H., (92A19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court received sufficient evidence and made adequate findings of fact to support an adjudication of grounds under N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(5) and (9).
State v. Bowman, (274A18 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for first-degree murder (noncapital) and related firearms offenses; whether the trial court violated defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront the principal witness against him, and if so, whether the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, thus entitling defendant to a new trial.
State v. Grady, (179A14-3 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from order imposing lifetime satellite-based monitoring on a defendant found to be a recidivist; whether the Court of Appeals erred by determining that, under the circumstances, the trial court's order effected an unreasonable search in violation of defendant's rights under the Fourth Amendment.
State v. Morgan, (150A18 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis (View COA Opinion)
Whether the trial court erred in revoking defendant's probation under N.C.G.S. 15A-1344(f) after his probationary term expired; whether the trial court made a sufficient finding of 'good cause shown and stated' to comply with N.C.G.S. 15A-1344(f)(3).
In re L.E.M., (383A18 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from dismissal of respondent-father's appeal from an order terminating his parental rights; whether the Court of Appeals was required to conduct an independent review of the merits of the father's arguments after his appellate counsel submitted a no-merit brief pursuant to Appellate Rule 3.1.
In re E.H.P., (70A19 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court erred by finding there was sufficient evidence of respondent's willful failure to pay child support or that respondent willfully abandoned his children; whether the trial court abused its discretion in determining the children's best interests.
State v. Lewis, (140PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis
Motion to suppress evidence seized from defendant's house and vehicle; whether the affidavit for the search warrant contained sufficient information to establish probable cause to conduct the searches.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 279 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 14 June 2019
Mandate: 5 July 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 14 June 2019

Case Title / Description
Sykes v. Health Network Sols., Inc., (251PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson
Appeal from orders and opinions of N.C. Business Court dismissing plaintiffs' complaint for antitrust and related violations because of plaintiffs' failure to properly plead that defendants have market power within the relevant market.
Sykes v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of N.C., (248A18 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby
Appeal from order and opinion of N.C. Business Court dismissing plaintiffs' complaint for antitrust and related violations because of plaintiffs' failure to properly plead that defendants have market power within the relevant market.
Town of Nags Head v. Richardson, (244A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Dispute between a municipality and property owners over the Town's taking of a temporary easement in privately owned oceanfront property for a beach nourishment project; amount of compensation due the property owners; expert testimony on value of the interest taken; whether sufficient evidence supported the jury's determination of the amount to be awarded the property owners.
State v. Alvarez, (299A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to survive defendant's motions to dismiss a charge of maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of keeping or selling a controlled substance.
State v. Harvey, (290A18 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from conviction for second-degree murder; whether the evidence, although conflicting, was sufficient to satisfy defendant's burden to submit the issue of self-defense to the jury; whether the trial court erred in not submitting the instruction.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 134 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 10 May 2019
Mandate: 30 May 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 10 May 2019

Case Title / Description
In re E.D., (125PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals vacating an order authorizing respondent's continued involuntary commitment for failure to comply with N.C.G.S. 122C-266; whether the issue on appeal was automatically preserved and if so, whether respondent was required to show prejudice before the order could be vacated.
State v. Bursell, (124A18 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby (View COA Opinion)
Whether defendant preserved his constitutional challenge based on Grady v. North Carolina to the imposition of lifetime satellite-based monitoring after he pleaded guilty to statutory rape and indecent liberties; whether the Court of Appeals erred in invoking Appellate Rule 2 to consider defendant's argument on appeal if this issue was not properly preserved.
State v. Mills, (526A13-2 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from Court of Appeals decision reversing lower court's denial of defendant's motion for appropriate relief following his conviction for sexual offenses against a minor; whether the court erred in admitting testimony at trial under Evidence Rule 404(b) regarding defendant's alleged prior sexual misconduct; whether defendant's appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to argue plain error in admission of that evidence, thus causing the COA to dismiss defendant's direct appeal from his convictions.
State v. Daniel, (164A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from trial court's order allowing defendant's motion to suppress evidence found after a traffic stop; whether the trooper who detained defendant for speeding and then arrested him for DWI had probable cause to arrest defendant for DWI.
Wells Fargo Ins. Servs. USA v. Link, (300A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal from order and opinion of N.C. Business Court granting in part and denying in part motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with contractual relations, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
In re Smith, (419A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Review of recommendation for public reprimand
State v. White, (396PA17 - Published) Author: Justice Cheri Beasley (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from conviction for child sex offense; whether the superseding short-form indictment charging defendant was facially defective because it did not refer to the alleged victim by name.
State v. Mumma, (90PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from conviction for second-degree murder; whether the trial court committed prejudicial error by sending numerous pictures of the decedent's body into the jury room; plain error review of the trial court's jury instructions concerning the aggressor doctrine in relation to defendant's claim of self-defense.
Piazza v. Kirkbride, (181A16 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Civil liability of director of bankrupt company under N.C.G.S. 78A-56(a)(2); whether the Director Safe Harbor provision of N.C.G.S. 55-8-30 provides a defense; whether the director found liable should receive a new trial because the trial court entered judgment on inconsistent jury verdicts.
State v. Lofton, (143PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Whether an indictment charging defendant with manufacturing marijuana in violation of N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(1) was fatally defective because it did not allege an 'intent to distribute.'
State v. J.C., (405PA17 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the State's appeal from a trial court's order expunging records of petitioner-defendant's conviction for one count of indecent liberties.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 182 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 29 March 2019
Mandate: 18 April 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 29 March 2019

Case Title / Description
State v. Phachoumphone, (65PA18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to survive defendant's motions to dismiss the charges for which he was convicted; whether the trial court committed prejudicial error in allowing the alleged child victim to testify remotely or in not intervening ex mero motu in certain closing arguments by the prosecutor.
Preiss v. Wine & Design Franchise, LLC, (390A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal from order of N.C. Business Court sanctioning counsel under Rule of Civil Procedure 37(d).
County of Durham ex rel. Wilson v. Burnette, (404A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Show cause hearing on whether to hold defendant in civil contempt for willful failure to pay current and past child support obligations; whether the district court's findings of fact supported its conclusion that defendant should be held in contempt; whether the findings were sufficient to show that defendant had the present ability to financially satisfy the conditions required to purge the contempt.
State v. Tart, (427PA17 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury; whether the short-form indictment charging attempted murder was fatally defective; whether the trial court erred in not intervening ex mero motu in the State's closing arguments.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 182 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 1 February 2019
Mandate: 21 February 2019
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 1 February 2019

Case Title / Description
Saunders v. ADP TotalSource Fi Xi, Inc., (399PA16 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Workers' Compensation; whether, when reviewing an appeal from an Industrial Commission decision that an attorney's fee was unreasonable, the superior court exceeded its authority under N.C.G.S. 97-90(c) and thus lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the appeal.
In re J.A.M., (7PA17-2 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals that, on remand from this Court, affirmed a trial court's adjudication of neglect of a minor child; whether clear and convincing evidence supported the findings of fact on which the order was based.
Pachas v. N.C. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., (144A18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Action seeking trial court's enforcement of its previous order requiring DHHS to use the federal poverty level for a family when determining petitioner's income eligibility for Medicaid benefits; whether the trial court properly dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction because petitioner did not exhaust her administrative remedies before taking the issue directly to court.
State v. Thompson, (24A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for violations of the Controlled Substances Act following defendant's guilty plea; whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress incriminating evidence recovered from the trunk of his car; whether defendant was 'seized' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
State v. Gentle, (240A18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Appeal by defendant from order imposing lifetime satellite-based monitoring on grounds that the trial court did not make a finding of 'reasonableness' before ordering SBM; whether the Court of Appeals erred by dismissing defendant's untimely appeal from the trial court's order, to which he did not object at trial.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 149 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.