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State v. Walden

North Carolina Supreme Court
306 N.C. 466 (1982)


Facts

Jasper Davis heard a small child screaming and hollering and a popping sound coming from an apartment next door. The sounds lasted between one hour and one and one-half hours. Davis called the police, who came to investigate. The police discovered five small children and adults George Hoskins and Aleen Estes Walden (defendant). One of the children, Lamont Walden, was one year old. Lamont was in diapers and had red marks on his chest, bruises on his legs and back, and a swollen lip. Aleen was charged with felony assault because the State of North Carolina (plaintiff) alleged she watched the assault and did not intervene or try to stop it. During the trial, three of the children testified that Hoskins hit Lamont repeatedly with a belt over an extended period of time. Each of those children testified that Aleen was in the room watching, but she did not say anything or do anything to stop the beating. Aleen testified that those three children had gone to the store with Hoskins and that Aleen was alone with Lamont and the other child when the children’s father came to the apartment. Aleen testified that the father beat Lamont and that she tried to stop him but was hit in her face. The jury convicted Aleen of felony assault on the theory that Aleen aided and abetted Hoskins in assaulting Lamont. Aleen appealed, and the court of appeals reversed. The state appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)

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