A new Juvenile Law Bulletin, Transfer of Juvenile Delinquency Cases to Superior Court, is now available. Transfer is the procedure used to move a case that begins as a delinquency matter under the original jurisdiction of the juvenile court to criminal court for trial as an adult. The Bulletin outlines when transfer is allowed, and sometimes required; the varying procedures to use to transfer a case based on age at offense and the offense charged; procedure to follow once transfer is ordered; the remand process; place of confinement; and issues related to the appeal process. This blog provides some highlights of the information in the Bulletin. Continue reading
The negative impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching and well-documented. They include death, illness, disruptions in school and work, strains on the health care system, and backlogs in the courts. But if I had been asked back in March 2020 to predict the impact the pandemic would have on traffic safety, I would have guessed incorrectly. I might have thought that since fewer people would be regularly driving to offices during predictable times of the day, traffic fatalities would decline. I would have been wrong. NC DOT analysis of traffic crashes during the pandemic revealed that while vehicle crashes decreased dramatically following the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in March 2020 and continued to remain below 2019 and prior year averages for the rest of the year, fatal crashes (which fortunately are a small subset – less than 1 percent — of total crashes) did not precipitously decline. Instead, they surpassed 2019 numbers and the five-year average during several weeks in the spring, summer and fall of 2020.
As it turns out, this upward trend in fatal crashes was not limited to 2020 or to North Carolina. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published in October 2021 a statistical projection of traffic fatalities nationwide for the first half of that year. See NHTSA, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (January – June) of 2021, Traffic Safety Facts: Crash – Stats (October 2021) [hereinafter Early Estimate]. That projection showed a nearly 20 percent increase in fatalities in motor vehicle crashes from the first half of 2020. The calculation – that 20,160 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes from January to June 2021 – represents the highest number of fatalities during the first half of a year since 2006 and the highest half-year percentage increase since 1979, when the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began recording data. NHTSA estimates that fatalities increased in all ten of its regions. The 10 percent increase in North Carolina’s region, Region 3, was second-to-lowest, with the highest increase (26 percent) in Region 10, which includes Alaska, Washington, and other Northwestern states.
The AOC recently announced in a press release that Lydia Hoza has been appointed as the first chief public defender in Judicial District 27B, which includes Cleveland and Lincoln counties. The establishment of the new office was part of the state budget passed late last year. Hoza, who previously served as an assistant district attorney in Lincoln County, will be responsible for hiring thirteen attorneys and seven support staff who will work out of offices in both counties. Continue reading
The shooting death of Andrew Walker by an off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy has drawn significant attention this week. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin told ABC 11 that in his opinion Cumberland deputy Jeffrey Hash should be charged with a crime for shooting Walker, who Hash said jumped on his truck and ripped off a windshield wiper which Walker then used to beat the windshield as Hash and his family were in the vehicle. A judge recently authorized the release of body camera footage from officers who responded to the incident. Keep reading for more news.
As blog readers know, the UNC School of Government Criminal Justice Innovation Lab has been developing a Measuring Justice Dashboard. Last year we released our Dashboard first metrics: Citation v. Arrest and Summons v. Warrant. We recently released a new Dashboard metric: Criminal Charging. In this post I’ll give some highlights of that tool. But in case you want to get right to it, you can access the Dashboard from the Lab’s web page (https://cjil.sog.unc.edu/); from the main page, click on “Measuring Justice.”
It is a new year, and there are new rules for determining the term of office for a district court judge appointed to fill a vacancy.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol where American citizens violently assaulted law enforcement officers and injured government property while storming the building in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. The NewsHour has been running a series of special reports about the attack this week which are available here. The Greensboro News & Record reports that more than 725 people from across the country have been arrested for participating in the attack and has details about ongoing prosecutions of some North Carolinians. Keep reading for more news.
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Supreme Court released on December 17, 2021, and decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on January 4, 2022.
As always, these summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present.