Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 12:25 PM

Today's COA Decisions

Today the NC Court of Appeals released 15 published decisions. Frankly there's nothing of significance in today's batch for our purposes.

Today's prize for the most bizarre case: a statutory rape case where the defendant won a new trial. Defendant lived with his wife and their kids, and with his girlfriend and her kids. That's where the trouble began: one of the girlfriend's daughters gave birth at 15, and again at 16, and DNA testing showed that defendant was the father of both. His defense: the girl drugged him with a pill that rendered him unconscious, and then she forced him into unconscious relations. His key witness: the girl. She told a detective that on two occasions she got pills that could "lay a person out" and she put them in defendant's drink after he had "come home tired from drinking and smoking drugs," with the consequence that "he couldn't move or anything," making him "dead-weight" before she had relations, resulting in the two pregnancies. Because the trial judge didn't clearly instruct the jury that it had to find "beyond a reasonable doubt" that defendant was conscious, he gets a new trial. (Judge Hunter dissented because he would've dismissed the charge outright for insufficient evidence of defendant's consciousness.)

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