When a defendant steals personal property that belonged to someone who recently died, who should be alleged as the victim in the criminal pleading? I’ve been asked this question several times, so I thought I would try to answer it here on the blog. Continue reading →
I have long thought of the exigent circumstances doctrine as an exception to the warrant requirement – it allows a search to be conducted when probable cause is present but it is impractical for officers to take the time to obtain a search warrant. That understanding was shaken when I read Phil Dixon’s summary of United States v. Curry, 937 F.3d 363 (4th Cir. 2019). The majority in Curry ruled that exigent circumstances allowed officers to search several men without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion because they were walking away from an area where shots had just been fired. In other words, the court took the position that exigent circumstances excused not only the lack of a warrant, but also the lack of individualized suspicion. Have I been mistaken all these years? Continue reading →
The School of Government and the North Carolina Judicial College are pleased to announce our second annual CLE event. Reviews from last year’s event were extremely positive so we’re doing it again! It’s an event for everyone, with outstanding teachers addressing topics selected to be of interest to anyone practicing law.
The event will offer six hours of credit, including ethics and technology. Worried about the logistics of coming to campus in Chapel Hill? Don’t be! Lunch and parking are provided.
The flyer below provides additional details. For even more information or to register, click here.
A person commits first-degree trespass when he or she “without authorization . . . enters or remains . . . in a building of another.” G.S. 14-159.12(a). But aren’t members of the public “authoriz[ed]” to enter public buildings? And given that public buildings belong to all of us, do they even count as buildings “of another”? In other words, is it possible to commit a trespass in a public building? Continue reading →
Two years ago, I wrote about training prosecutors, forensic experts, and investigative police in Mexico. I’ve been back a couple of times since, including last week. Each time I learn something that makes me reflect on the workings of our own justice system. On my most recent trip, I learned more about the role of the victim in Mexico, and it got me thinking about the role of the victim in our criminal courts. Continue reading →
The question in the title of this post is an oversimplified version of the issue addressed by the court of appeals last week in State v. Bailey, __ N.C. App. __, __ S.E.2d __, 2019 WL 3925864 (Aug. 20, 2019). But it isn’t oversimplified by much, and the appellate division may be inching closer to answering the question in the affirmative. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: The opinion analyzed in this post was withdrawn shortly after publication and replaced with this opinion reaching the same outcome.
Last week, in State v. Ellis, __ N.C. App. __, __ S.E.2d __, 2019 WL 3559644 (N.C. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2019), a divided panel of the court of appeals held that a trooper properly stopped a vehicle “after witnessing . . . a passenger in [the] vehicle . . . extend his middle finger in the trooper’s general direction.” The majority acknowledged that “there are a number of decisions from courts across the country [holding] that one cannot be held criminally liable for simply raising his middle finger at an officer.” Yet it ruled that the defendant’s conduct provided reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, namely, disorderly conduct. See generally G.S. 14-288.4(a)(2) (making it unlawful to make a gesture “intended and plainly likely to provoke violent retaliation”). Let’s take a closer look at Ellis.Continue reading →