I Want a New Trial! Now What? A District Court Judge’s Authority to Act Following Entry of Notice of Appeal for Trial De Novo (Part I)

Jay Jones is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and given an unsecured bond of $1,000. He is convicted following a bench trial in district court. Noting that Jones is a prior conviction level III and has previously violated probation, the judge imposes an active sentence of 120 days. Jones enters notice of appeal in … Read more

Visual Identification of Drugs Takes Another Hit

Update: On February 16, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion in State v. Davis, in which law enforcement officers were allowed to offer lay testimony without objection that the substance the defendant sold them was crack cocaine. In a footnote, the Davis panel stated that Llamas-Hernandez did not overrule Freeman as to … Read more

District Court is in Session . . . But for How Long?

Editor’s note: This post has been revised slightly in response to a helpful comment from a reader. A district court session usually lasts one day, so many court actors have gotten in the habit of thinking that a district court session is a day as a matter of law. Some North Carolina publications refer to … Read more

I See Cocaine

Can a lay witness testify that she could tell just by looking at a substance that it was, in fact, a controlled substance? (Let’s assume the witness has extensive dealings with drugs and therefore a basis of personal knowledge, and leave aside the credibility issues that may arise if she has been an enthusiastic consumer … Read more

Jail Credit for Split Sentences (Isn’t That Special?)

Editor’s note: SOG faculty member Alyson Grine — today’s guest blogger — holds the position of Defender Educator. As her title suggests, her principal client group is public defenders and court-appointed lawyers, but she frequently addresses issues of concern to all participants in the criminal justice system. Assistant Public Defender “Tom” from eastern North Carolina … Read more