This post summarizes published criminal law and related decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals released in June 2023. Cases that may be of interest to state practitioners are summarized monthly. Previous Fourth Circuit summaries are available here.
According to WRAL and other sources, seven homes and one business have been damaged in six fires in Durham since July 2. The homes are all in the same area of town and were vacant at the time. Authorities believe the fires were intentionally set and are actively seeking information from the public about possible suspects. Read on for more criminal law news.
The drug xylazine has been in the news recently as a dangerous substance commonly mixed with heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. Xylazine is not an opioid nor is it currently a controlled substance, which presents unique challenges for legal and public health professionals. This post, co-written by SOG faculty members Kirsten Leloudis and Phil Dixon, examines the legal and public health issues surrounding the drug.
The indictment of former President Trump continues to dominate the news. Since Shea’s roundup last week noting the federal charges, the indictment was unsealed. It reveals that Trump faces 37 felonies. Most of the charges (31 counts) relate to Trump’s alleged improper storage and retention of national defense information. The indictment also charges conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding and concealing documents from the grand jury and from investigators, and making false statements to investigators. The charging document is a so-called “speaking” indictment, laying out much more specific detail about the circumstances surrounding the charges than the more common bare-bones indictments describing only the commission of the elements of the offense. You can read the indictment here or here. Judge Aileen Cannon, who presided over earlier litigation regarding the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, has been assigned to the case. The former President has pled not guilty. Read on for more criminal law news.
The General Assembly last amended our satellite-based monitoring (“SBM”) laws in 2021, substantially reworking who qualifies for SBM, the process of petitioning for termination of SBM, and the potential length of SBM (among other changes). If you are still adjusting to those new rules, buckle up. Tucked into the back of S.L 2023-143 (SB 20) are new amendments that once again substantially revise North Carolina’s SBM scheme (in Part VIII, starting at page 44 of the linked bill), effective for SBM orders entered on or after October 1, 2023. This post examines those changes and their potential implications.
In U.S. Supreme Court news, the Court recently stayed the execution of Richard Glossip. Mr. Glossip has spent 26 years on death row in Oklahoma. This was his ninth scheduled execution date. The state Attorney General agreed with Mr. Glossip that a stay was appropriate, categorizing the sentence as a “grave injustice” amid questions about the integrity of the conviction. The stay was obtained from the Court after the state parole board declined to recommend clemency and other state remedies were exhausted. Read on for more criminal law news.
I started wondering about that question after reading a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Carolina Youth Action Project v. Wilson, 60 F.4th 770 (4th Cir. 2023) (summarized here). There, the court struck down two South Carolina state laws aimed in large part at regulating conduct and speech in and around schools. Those laws are similar to our version of disorderly conduct by disrupting schools. This post examines the holding of Carolina Youth Action Project and its potential implications for North Carolina law.