The Importance of Appearance of a Fair Trial In North Carolina

In State v. Wilson, 314 N.C. 653, 656, 336 S.E.2d 76, 77 (1985), the Supreme Court of North Carolina reiterated that "the appearance of a fair trial before an impartial jury is as important as the fact that a defendant actually receives such a trial." Id. The jury system depends on the public's confidence in its integrity. We must zealously guard against any actions or situations which would raise the slightest suspicion that the jury in a criminal case had been influenced or tampered with so as to be favorable to either the State or the defendant. Any lesser degree of vigilance would foster suspicion and distrust and risk erosion of the public's confidence in the integrity of our jury system. Id.