Articles Tagged with first-degree murder

2-1024x1024Can I Appeal a Criminal Conviction in North Carolina?

A state criminal conviction may seem like the worst thing that could have happened, but there may be something you can do about it. A criminal conviction does not necessarily mean that your fight to defend yourself is over. In some cases, you may be able to appeal a criminal conviction in North Carolina. It is helpful to know that there are different rules that may apply to appealing a case in federal court.

Reasons to Appeal a State Conviction

1-1How Can I Appeal a Guilty Conviction?

A conviction in a criminal case can be devastating. A conviction could result in serious penalties that could have a lasting impact on you and your family. When found guilty of a crime, you will face the sentence that a judge imposes based on the severity of the crime. You may hear that many people appeal their convictions, and some of them are successful. There is a legal method in place to file an appeal. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will help guide the appeal process.

Does My Case Qualify for Appeal?

1-5Capital Punishment in North Carolina

North Carolina has various punishments for different crime convictions. The most serious of all crimes have the most severe penalties. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is only to be used for crimes that result in death, such as murder. Only about half the states have capital punishment in place. Capital punishment is a penalty for first-degree murder in North Carolina.

What is Capital Punishment?

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”A past conviction is keeping me from finding work. What can I do?”

For many people, what goes on inside the walls of a prison isn’t the focus of much attention. Most seem content to embrace the idea that what’s out of sight should be kept out of mind. Unfortunately, this tendency to ignore sometimes-difficult issues allows the issues to continue to cause harm.

Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC responds to: “I was found not guilty of a charge, but my record still shows the charge.”

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will have an important impact on dozens of people currently serving life sentences in North Carolina prisons. The ruling will require courts to reconsider their sentences as the inmates were all under 18 years old at the time of their crimes. Whether the life sentences without the possibility of parole are ultimately tossed out depends in part of the nature of the original crime and on the leniency of the judges presiding over the new hearings.

J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

Joanna Madonna was found guilty of first-degree murder on Monday, September 28th, in what had been a highly publicized trial in the North Carolina capital. The former Wake County schoolteacher and 48-year-old mother was sentenced to life in prison for the Father’s Day murder of her husband Jose Perez. Madonna was convicted of first-degree murder, which means the jury found that Madonna acted maliciously and with premeditation. The jury found that Madonna took her husband, who was a recovering alcoholic with serious health issues, on a drive through northern Wake County, shot and stabbed him, and left him to die in a ditch.

J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Should I talk to the police?”


Bradley Cooper—not the actor—was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011 after a 36-day trial that featured testimony from over 100 witnesses. That was all for naught. The Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in 2013 after ruling that Cooper’s defense team was prematurely foreclosed by the trial court from adequately investigating the reasons given by law-enforcement officers for not turning over evidence extracted from Mr. Cooper’s computer.

Wake County Courthouse Charlotte Criminal Lawyer North Carolina DWI AttorneyFrom the very beginning, Cooper’s defense lawyers argued that the investigation into Nancy Cooper’s death was flawed. The crucial piece of evidence linking Cooper to his wife’s slaying was a Google Maps search that investigators said Cooper made in order to hide his wife’s body. Cooper did not testify at the 2011 trial; he told investigators that his wife went jogging and never returned.

That story changed in court in Raleigh on Monday, when Cooper acknowledged killing his wife and dumping her body on Fielding Drive. Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings told the court that Nancy Cooper had been strangled.

Cooper agreed to consent to the adoption of his daughters, who are now eight and ten-years-old, respectively. They will be adopted by Nancy Cooper’s sister. The agreement between Cooper and the State also meant that Cooper would plead guilty to second-degree murder and receive credit for the more-than-five years he has spent in jail awaiting disposition of his case.

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