blank

News Roundup

This week, yet again, America mourns a mass shooting after a young white man attacked the Tops Food Market in Buffalo, New York, killing thirteen people, eleven of them Black, in what appears to be premeditated murder motivated by racism.  Along with the fact, toll, and motivation of the shooting, accomplished as others with a legally purchased assault rifle, is an additional hallmark of our time – the suspect plotted and broadcast the attack on the internet.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized
blank

Case Summaries – N.C. Court of Appeals (May 17, 2022)

This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on May 17, 2022. These summaries will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present. Continue reading

Category: Case Summaries

Criminal Investigations and Public Records

The Court of Appeals held earlier this month in In re Public Records Request to DHHS, 2022-COA-284, ___ N.C. App. ___ (May 3, 2022), that the State had no authority to initiate an action in superior court seeking to prevent the disclosure of documents related to its investigation of the death of John Neville, who died while imprisoned in the Forsyth County Law Enforcement Detention Center. This post will review that decision as well as the rules that govern the disclosure of records related to a criminal investigation. Continue reading

blank

Case Summaries: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (April 2022)

This post summarizes published criminal and related decisions released by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals during April 2022. Decisions that may be of interest to state practitioners are summarized monthly. Previous Fourth Circuit case summaries are available here. Continue reading

blank

News Roundup

As the PBS Newshour reports, this week the United States Department of the Interior released the first volume of an investigative report that examines the federal Indian boarding school system that operated from 1819 to 1969 and visited widespread abuse upon children of Native communities.  A second volume of the report is expected to investigate burial sites at the schools, where thousands of students died from illness, accidental injuries, and abuse.  Keep reading for more news. Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized

Case Summaries: NC Supreme Court (May 6, 2022)

This post summarizes published criminal law decisions from the North Carolina Supreme Court released on May 6, 2022. These summaries will be added to the School’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present.

Continue reading

Case Summaries – Court of Appeals of North Carolina (May 3, 2022)

This post summarizes published criminal law decisions from the Court of Appeals of North Carolina released on May 3, 2022.  These summaries will be added to the School’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present. Continue reading

blank

News Roundup

The biggest legal story of the week was the surprise leak of a draft opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade.  Politico broke the story and later reported Chief Justice John Roberts’s confirmation that the leaked draft was authentic and his direction to the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the leak.  Keep reading for more news. Continue reading

Category: Uncategorized
blank

Witness Intimidation

I am an avid watcher of television legal dramas—although I can’t say whether that is because of or in spite of my profession. Even so, it is easy for me to pick up on the unrealistic portions of those shows: the ease of gathering evidence, the speed with which perpetrators are caught, the overall swiftness of the trial—the entire process usually being completed within 45 minutes. I also tend to pick up on some of the more realistic, practical aspects of the shows: the differing types of offenses, the potential constitutional issues that may arise, and the corollary offenses that attach during the process.

One of the most common and possibly most overlooked corollary offenses is witness intimidation. The perpetrators almost always engage in some sort of interference but are rarely charged in the shows. That may be because there is already so much content to fit within a 45-minute time frame. But in real-world practice, it could also be because witness intimidation is not always as straightforward as one might think. This post analyzes North Carolina’s witness intimidation law as proscribed by G.S. 14-226, as well as other issues and nuances that may arise in this context.

Continue reading

Search Warrants for Digital Devices and the Requirement that Warrants be Executed within 48 Hours

I’ve had several questions lately about the requirement in G.S. 15A-248 that “[a] search warrant must be executed within 48 hours from the time of issuance.” The specific concern is how this applies to searches of digital devices, which frequently require off-site forensic analysis that may not begin, let alone end, until substantially more than 48 hours after issuance of the warrant. Although we don’t have an appellate case on point in North Carolina, courts in other jurisdictions have held that so long as the initial seizure of the device is timely, the forensic analysis may be conducted later. Continue reading