Blog Confidential

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One of the services that we offer here at the School of Government is what I like to call the “hotline.” When you have a question about the law, you can call us or email us and we’ll try to answer it. Although different faculty members treat those calls slightly differently, most of us treat them as confidential. I certainly do. But I also blog about questions that I receive, and some people have asked me about the tension between confidentiality and using questions as the basis of blog posts. In case you were staying up at night wondering how I balance those concerns, here’s the answer.

If I receive a single call, about a single “live” case, I won’t blog about the issue, period. I particularly want lawyers to feel comfortable calling and asking questions without worrying that they’ll tell me their thoughts and then I’ll disclose their thoughts on the blog, or that they’ll express a concern that they don’t want opposing counsel to know about, but then I’ll flag the issue on the blog.

However, if I receive multiple calls about an issue that has cropped up in multiple cases, it becomes fair game for the blog. I still won’t disclose the thoughts that any particular lawyer (or judge, or officer, or whoever) has shared in confidence about a particular case, but I will describe the issue in generic terms and offer my thoughts about it. Part of my job as a School of Government faculty member is to write on recurrent, important legal issues, and the blog is one way for me to do that. (But not the only way — please excuse this shameless plug for some of my other work, which is available here and here.)

I hope this helps to clarify how I balance the different aspects of my work — and I hope it gives you the confidence to continue to rely on our traditional hotline function even as we move into the brave new world of the blog.

One final point. My behind-the-scenes stats counter tells me that readership of this blog is exploding — we’re pushing a thousand hits a week — but the number of comments isn’t keeping pace. Help me out here, people! Make the blog better by sharing your thoughts and experiences. If you’d feel more comfortable leaving comments anonymously, that’s fine. You get to choose the name under which you leave comments — feel free to pick whatever nom de plume you prefer. Confidentiality, anonymity, we’ve got it all.

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7 comments on “Blog Confidential

  1. Here are some issues I’d like to see addressed: the state of 15A-1335 after the NCSC refused to hear the case of St v Stanley Williams; what position the IOG is taking in cases after Curtis Parker got relief from Judge Hudson in Durham; and how to get judges to move on MARs in non-capital cases. And can I get CLE credit for being 1 of 3 commentators on this blog?

  2. Tucker: Two of your four questions probably fall within my field. A recap of the long history of the Williams case and the law of 15A-1335 would make a great post–thank you for the suggestion. I can also post my analysis of the issue in the Parker MAR [spoiler alert: I don’t think you’ll like it], but it by no means represents any sort of official School position–just my thoughts. As for CLE credit…if it were up to us we’d give it!

  3. I think the COA’s opinion in Williams is pretty strong. The PDR in that case argued that the offenses “arose out of the same course of conduct” but of course 15A-1335 uses simply an offense “based on the same conduct.” Seems like a difference with a real distinction, and clearly the NC Supreme Court agreed in denying the PDR.

    Or it could have had something to do with the fact that, under 15A-1442, COA decisions on MARs from the trial court are not subject to further review bu the NC Supreme Court. Or with the fact that the defendant waited over a year to file the PDR.

    As for Curtis Parker and his MAR in Durham, I have no idea who that is. Educate me, Mr. Markham!

  4. NCProsecutor: Thanks for the comment. You can find background on the Parker case here: http://tinyurl.com/ddyecp

  5. A strorey in today’s (6-6-11) N&O about a boy soliciting sexually expxlicit photos from his middle school classmates makes me wonder , , , ,

    Can a child be charged or convicted of soliciting child porno or creating child porno?

  6. Thanks for your efforts with the blog. It appears to be generating much discusion and providing a valueable resource to many, including be intoocuh with you Mr. Welty. Can I propose a hypothetical for discussion?

  7. I recently came across your blog. I am not an attorney, but a defendant, 47 years old, female, and have never been in trouble and who has lost two cases of one DWI and a month later, DUI. It took the court system almost a year to take me to court for the first one. It is a long story but I took a plea even though I only blew a .07 and I still do not know how I did that. Because I had only drank two beers at around four o’clock and when I was getting out of my vehicle at 9:30 to go to the teller machine, an officer approached me. There is more to tell about this but I believe that my attorney who I told several times I would not take a plea because I could prove the medicine was mine and I did so that day but the DA, who I overheard ask my attorney what she wanted him to do since he knew that the medicine was mine, she stated that I should not be charged with the DWI. He said to her, did she realize how much paperwork it would take him to make a DWI go away. But I had medication that I proved was mine but since I had it in a different bottle so I would not take the entire prescription with me for a two day trip from Georgia to North Carolina.The first case, I had an attorney who I thought was someone else because I had not lived in North Carolina in 10 years. She was and is known for taking pleas for those she represents. I told her over and over I did not want to take a plea, she would go back in and speak to the DA and then come back and tell me if I did not take the plea and lost, which I should not have, that I would be facing felony charges. I took the plea. The next one was a month later and I had left some apartments we were re-doing and evicting drug dealers from them and some that did not pay but we got rid of everyone except one person. I recieved a phone call from the police who stated that I had hit a car, I have pictures to prove I could not have hit it. I was asked to return to the area of where our apartments are located, to find 2 or 3 cop cars. I pulled into one of the drive ways, it took them about an hour to dicide if I had hit the car, the pictures prove I did not. The police person used her hip to measure a scratch on my work truck to a car that had already been wrecked. Anyway, they had me take a heel to toe test and I stumbled. I have a condition (medical) that would explain this along with three procedures I have had done on my back to correct my spine. The offier handcuffed me. I asked why I was under arrest and he stated that everyone on the street (my tenants, who were being evicted) had said I had been drinking Coronas all day. I asked him to give me a blow test. He said we would do it at the station. When we arrived, I blew a 0.0. I told hime, see I told you I was not drinking and he stated he already knew that. I was not drinking so they wanted to say it was my medicine that made me hit the car. But if they thought I was under the influence or was drinking and that was told to them before they had told me to come back to the apartments, ( I was at Burger King) which I had to drive on hwy 17 in Jacksonville NC about 3 miles. They called me twice. Once while I was in the Drive-Thru, and then as I was driving on the hwy and they were not nice about it either. But that happened in Oct 2010, they had me do a blood test, which they only got about two tablespoons of blood for each vile becasue the peramedic did not have the correct needle to use on my vienes because of my medical condition. He stuck me around 8 times, bruised me, broke a needle in my hand and continued to apologize and ask the officer if he should continue because he was hurting me. They entered the blood test into evidience, no one was there from the SBI lab to testify about the results, they stated I had hit the car, but I was not found guilty of that. But when I went to court on Dec 19, 2011 my Lawyer did not show up and sent someone from her office after we called. He said that I was taking a plea and I said no I am not. I asked about the blood work which they said had not came in yet, but he asked to DA about it and it was there but nothing to prove driving under the influnce of something and no trace of acohol. They postponed, I got a better attorney but he had two days to prepare. He stated the blood test could not be entered, the judge and him kinda of argued, and then the judge stated my testiomoney did not match the officers and what she stated could have been proved to be false if they had compared the results of the drug test to the drugs she stated I had taken that day. SHE LIED. Anyway I believe my 6th admendment right in the second case was violated as I was not allowed to face my acuser. The drug anaylist person who did the test. The police person had my drug test in her possesion for 5 to 7 days before sending it to the SBI lab, chain of commande could have been broken had m attorney been given enough time to prepare and since my other one did not appear and forgot and continued to tell me the drug results were not back until I paid the clerk of court $4.50 for my records which the DA had, I would not have known until I went to court. The drug test did not give any levels of the two prescriptions they did find but it can’t be right as I take more than what showed up, the two that showed up are the two I told her I had taken that day. Other drugs would have shown (prescriptions) even without taking them for a day because I have been on them for 12 years! Can you tell me anything and was my civil rights violated and I have a reason asking that. I was convicted of my second DUI and was sentenced to 7 days in jail but when the judge found out I could not take my medicine, he said he would give me until April to decide what I could do, in patient treatment (for what, is my question?) or do one day in jail, take all of my medicine for that day before I got into jail, which I could and would probably OD on if I took everything at once. The go home for a day, then come back for a day, doing the same thing over again. But the judge is not a doctor and to tell me to take all of the medicine before going into jail for a day, could be very harmful to me. All of this true and there is more strange things that happened but I feel like I wrote you too much already. I really would like to talk to you on the phone if possible. Find out what you think. And see if I should presue this with a civil rights attorney. I have already paid a alot money out between two attorneys but the first one, did not even seem like she knew what planet she was on. Can you email me, even if you can’t help me? Thank you. Maybe I could explain this better instead of trying to write everything down which is probably out of order in some places.

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