Editor’s Note: This is the first post by Ethan Rex, who has served as the Project Manager for the Criminal Justice Innovation Lab since June 2020. We welcome Ethan to the blog!
The UNC School of Government Criminal Justice Innovation Lab recently released a report of early findings for the Citation Project. Executed by the Lab and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police (NCACP), the Citation Project seeks to improve policing practices through implementation and rigorous evaluation of a model citation in lieu of arrest policy. Initial findings from the first report are promising: citations are being heavily used in pilot sites, there were no racial disparities in warrantless arrests, implementation is strong, magistrates’ bail decisions suggest the policy is working as intended, and use of citations results in substantial time savings for police departments.
USA Today reports that federal indictments for financial crimes were issued this week against Brian Laundrie, who also has been named as a person of interest in the killing of his fiancé Gabby Petito. Petito’s disappearance, and the eventual discovery of her remains at a campground near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, became a major national news story when Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito after the pair embarked on a cross country road trip. Laundrie did not explain Petito’s disappearance and has himself been missing for more than a week. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on September 21, 2021. 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.
North Carolina’s law governing the disclosure and release of body-worn camera footage took center stage last spring following the shooting of Andrew Brown in Elizabeth City. John Rubin wrote here about litigation on that issue, noting that one prominent feature of the statutory scheme was that determining matters of disclosure and release “takes time.” This session, the General Assembly amended the rules governing disclosure of recordings that depict death or serious bodily injury to require (1) that a court determine whether a recording be disclosed; and (2) that the court make such a determination within seven business days of the filing of a disclosure petition. This post will review those changes.
This post summarizes published criminal and related decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals released during August 2021 that may be of interest to state practitioners. Previous Fourth Circuit summaries are available on the SOG website here. Summaries are also emailed to subscribers of the SOG criminal law listserv. Continue reading
Chapel Hill police announced yesterday afternoon that Miguel Enrique Salguero-Olivares was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Faith Hedgepeth, a UNC student who was killed in September 2012 in her off-campus apartment. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
We recently invited North Carolina jurisdictions to apply to participate in the NC Court Appearance Project. The project is supported by the UNC School of Government Criminal Justice Innovation Lab and The Pew Charitable Trusts. We’re excited to announce our three project sites: New Hanover, Orange, and Robeson Counties. We will be supporting stakeholders in these jurisdictions as they examine the scope and impact of missed court dates and explore ways to improve court appearance rates and responses to missed court dates. Each site has a project team composed of local judges, the DA, the Public Defender or a defense representative, the sheriff, the clerk of court and other officials. Because we’re interested to help stakeholders explore solutions that can work across diverse jurisdictions, we’re happy to have participation from an urban county, a suburban county, and a rural county. Thanks to everyone that applied—we wish we could have included all of you! Continue reading
Cannabis news abounds: Virginia legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up this year; our General Assembly has been considering a medicinal marijuana bill (S.B. 711); the Court of Appeals recently acknowledged (but did not decide) that precedent on the odor of marijuana as probable cause and on visual identification of the substance “may need to be re-examined” in light of legal hemp. State v. Parker, ___ N.C. App. ___, 860 S.E.2d 21, 29 (2021) (more on those issues here). I will write about the still-evolving issues with marijuana prosecutions in the state again soon. Today, though, I want to focus delta-8 THC. What is it? Is it legal? If so, how? Turns out the first question is simpler than the rest. Continue reading
The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice recommended in a 2020 report that state and local law enforcement agencies enact policies requiring officers to intervene in and report about circumstances in which a law enforcement officer witnesses excessive use of force or abuse of a suspect or arrestee. The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association similarly recommended in a 2020 report that all law enforcement agencies and the North Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation Program adopt a policy requiring an officer to intervene when necessary to prevent another officer from using excessive force and to report any such intervention. This session, the General Assembly imposed such duties as a matter of state law rather than agency policy. This post will discuss current statutory law governing officer’s use of force and recent amendments enacted by S.L. 2021-137 (H 536) and S.L. 2021-138 (S 300).
WLOS reports that Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced yesterday that his office will not initiate criminal charges in the death of Jacob Biddix, who died at Mission Hospital after being transported there when he was found in distress in his cell at the Buncombe County Detention Center. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.