Keat Wiles is a Raleigh criminal appeals attorney. He also practices in the areas of federal and state criminal defense, civil asset forfeiture defense, election law, ABC Commission defense, and professional licensing defense.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1950, John Keating (“Keat”) Wiles joined the firm in January 1996. Keat graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and was admitted to practice in state courts in North Carolina in 1995. He has since been admitted to practice before all U.S. District Courts in North Carolina and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Keat’s practice focuses on criminal defense in both state and federal courts and state and federal appeals as well as post-conviction practice.
As a law school student, Keat was a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Criminal Law. Since joining the firm, Keat has served as a lecturer, leading a continuing legal education offering by the North Carolina Bar Association where he and his senior partner, Joseph B. Cheshire V, presented the lecture, “When Political Speech Meets State Regulation: The Case of Farmers for Fairness.” He has also published the article, “A Case of Probable Cause Protecting Free Speech,” TRIALBriefs, N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fall 1997. Important reported cases on which Keat has worked include State v. Coble, 351 N.C. 448, 527 S.E.2d 45 (2000), United States v. Rhynes, 196 F.2d 207 (4th Cir. 2000), and United States v. Guyon, 474 F.3d 114 (4th Cir. 2006).
Before entering the practice of law, Keat pursued a career as an Old Testament scholar and theologian, having completed a B.M. at Oklahoma Baptist University in 1972, M. Div. at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1974 and a Ph. D. in Old Testament Language, Literature, and Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982 (Dissertation: “The ‘Enemy’ in Israelite Wisdom Literature”). During his career as an Old Testament scholar, Keat taught at the Seminari Teologia Baptis Indonesia in Semarang, Indonesia, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Shaw Divinity School, Raleigh, North Carolina, and he taught, preached, and wrote, having published books and articles in English and Indonesian and having served local congregations as a teacher and preacher in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. He continues his interests in biblical studies as an adult Bible study teacher in his local fellowship at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. In addition to his continuing interests in biblical studies, Keat’s outside interests include reading and running marathons. Keat is married and he and his wife have two children.
Extensive Experience Successfully Appealing Convictions
Below are a few examples of cases in which Keat Wiles has successfully challenged cases after conviction. Please note that the specific cases referenced do not represent all of the cases Keat has handled, and past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in future cases. Every case is unique.
- United States v. Rhynes, 196 F.3d 207 (1999), reh’g en banc, vacated in part on other grounds, 218 F.3d 310 (2000). The defendant was convicted by a general verdict of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, cocaine, cocaine base, and heroin and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit held that his sentence in excess of the maximum penalty for the least seriously punished offense was improper and withheld judgment, allowing the government to elect between resentencing him consistent with a marijuana conspiracy (10 years) or, if the government did not so choose, the Fourth Circuit would vacate the sentences and remand for a new trial.
- State v. Coble, 351 N.C. 448, 527 S.E.2d 45 (2000). The defendant was convicted at trial of “attempted second-degree murder” and appealed, claiming that the crime of “attempted second-degree murder” did not exist under NC law. The Court of Appeals affirmed defendant’s conviction, 134 N.C. App. 607, 518 S.E.2d 251 (1999), but the NC Supreme Court accepted the case for discretionary review and reversed, holding that the crime of “attempted second-degree murder” does not exist under NC law.
- State v. Adams, 187 N.C. App. 676, 654 S.E.2d 711 (2007). The defendant was convicted at trial of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, felonious breaking or entering, first-degree sexual offense, communicating threats, and assault on a female. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that evidence was insufficient to sustain convictions of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense. The Court reasoned that the use of hands does not satisfy the element of employing or displaying a dangerous weapon required for first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense.
- State v. Ryder, 196 N.C. App. 56, 674 S.E.2d 805 (2009). The defendant was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that he was entitled to instructions on the lesser-included offenses of false imprisonment and common law robbery and awarded a new trial on the charges of robbery and kidnapping charges.
- State v. Davison, 201 N.C. App. 354, 689 S.E.2d 510 (2009), disc. rev. denied, 346 N.C. 599, 703 S.E.2d 738 (2010). The defendant was convicted, pursuant to a plea agreement, of attempted first-degree sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child, and ordered to enroll in satellite-based monitoring following release from his term of imprisonment. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred by not following the procedure outlined in the statute authorizing satellite-based monitoring and also held that neither attempted first-degree sex offense nor indecent liberties with a child was an “aggravated offense” as defined by the relevant statute; Davison also established that, in determining whether an offense was an “aggravated offense,” the court may not look to the underlying factual scenario, but rather must decide based on the elements defining the particular offense.
- State v. Daniels, 203 N.C. App. 350, 691 S.E.2d 78 (2010). The defendant had been convicted of first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping, appealed and won a new sentencing proceeding. At the new sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him to a term of 370 to 453 months on the rape conviction, which was greater than his original sentence of 307 to 378 months on the same conviction. On appeal, the Court of Appeals vacated his sentence for another new sentencing hearing, holding that he could not be re-sentenced to a more severe sentence than imposed on his original sentence.
- State v. Mann, 214 N.C. App. 155, 715 S.E.2d 213 (2011). The defendant was convicted of various sex offenses and ordered to enroll in satellite-based monitoring for life. On appeal, the Court of Appeals, relying on State v. Davison, 201 N.C. App. 354, 689 S.E.2d 510 (2009), disc. rev. denied, 346 N.C. 599, 703 S.E.2d 738 (2010), held that the trial court erred by not following the statutory procedure and by considering the underlying factual scenario instead of the elements defining the offense. The Court granted a new hearing.
- State v, Gray, 225 N.C. App. 431, 736 S.E.2d 837, disc. rev. denied, 367 N.C. 213, 747 S.E.2d 534 (2013). The defendant was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon. On appeal, the Court of Appeals awarded a new trial, holding that a presumption of prejudice arose from defense counsel’s conflict of interest.