Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Moorman case brief

State v. Moorman case brief summary
358 S.E.2d 502 (N.C. 1987)

The state petitioned for discretionary review of a decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which arrested a lower court judgment wherein defendant was convicted of second degree rape. Defendant raised questions concerning his convictions for misdemeanor breaking and second degree sexual offense.

Defendant was convicted of second degree rape, second degree sexual assault, and misdemeanor breaking. The appellate court arrested judgment on the conviction for second degree rape. The state appealed, and defendant appealed his other convictions.

  • The court reversed and ordered a new trial, holding that the appellate court erred in concluding that there was a fatal variance between the indictment and the proof. 
  • The court held that in the case of a sleeping victim, it made no difference whether the indictment alleging a violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-72.3 asserted that the intercourse was by force and against the victim's will or whether it alleged merely intercourse with a sleeping victim because the force and lack of consent were implied in law. 
  • The court held that defendant was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel where defense counsel's opening assertions, which had no foundation in his pretrial investigation and were never remotely supported by any evidence proffered at trial, undercut defendant's consent defense and defendant's own testimony, thereby creating a reasonable probability that the trial outcome might have been different.

The court reversed the appellate court judgment arresting defendant's conviction for second degree rape but leaving undisturbed his convictions for second degree sexual assault and misdemeanor breaking and remanded for a new trial. The court held that defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel by his counsel's inability to support his unfounded opening statements and his attacks on defendant's credibility during closing arguments.

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