This post summarizes published criminal opinions of the Court of Appeals decided on July 7, 2020. Continue reading
Category Archives: Search and Seizure
On Thursday, June 4, 2020, the North Carolina General Assembly passed S.B. 315, referred to as the State Farm Bill, which was subsequently signed into law by the Governor. The bill was pending all last session and stalled, allegedly over a dispute about how to treat smokable hemp. As I understand it, the bill originally intended to clarify that hemp in all forms (including smokable hemp) was legal (here is an earlier version of the bill taking that approach). After hearing objections from law enforcement and prosecutors (as detailed in the SBI memo on the subject), the proposed bill was changed to ban smokable hemp and regulate the rest of the hemp industry in a variety of ways. When the bill was last being discussed in the news, the dispute at the General Assembly had apparently narrowed to when the smokable hemp ban was to kick in. But, the bill never passed last session, and we were without a Farm Bill until this month. So, what big changes does the bill have in store for hemp in North Carolina? Continue reading →
This post summarizes published criminal and related decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in March, 2020. Decisions of interest to state practitioners will be posted on a monthly basis. Previous summaries of Fourth Circuit criminal and related decisions can be found here. Continue reading →
The Governor ordered individuals in North Carolina to stay at home and non-essential business operations to cease beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2020. The order, Executive Order No. 121, remains in effect for thirty days from that date. Here are a few things to know about the order and its enforcement. Continue reading →
Spring is only a few weeks away. Soon preparation will begin for the rites of the season, among them pruning, planting, and, of course, prom.
A few weeks ago, I chaperoned a dance at my son’s high school. (I elected not to tell him that I was chaperoning, so you can imagine his reaction when he saw me there. For more about that, please check out my parenting blog.) When I walked into the gymnasium, I saw tables laden with dozens of bright yellow flashlight-shaped devices. The school had not stockpiled flashlights for gazing into dark corners. Instead, these were portable breath testing instruments awaiting samples of air drawn from the deep lungs of teenagers. Every student seeking admission to the dance was required to submit a breath sample. Only students who registered no alcohol concentration were eligible to attend the dance.
After the dance, someone asked me whether it was lawful for a school to require students to submit to a breath test before admitting them to a school function. My answer? Yes. My reasoning? See below. Continue reading →
This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in February, 2020. Decisions of interest to state practitioners will be posted on a monthly basis. Previous summaries of Fourth Circuit criminal and related decisions can be found here. Continue reading →
If you type “miranda” into the search box on this blog, it will return more than 50 posts covering a wide range of related topics: the meaning of custody, deficient warnings, knowing and voluntary waivers, ambiguous assertion of rights, special rules for juveniles, readvising and reinterviewing, public safety exceptions, and many, many others.
But I was stumped recently by a deceptively simple question that I had not heard before, and did not come up in those results: what if the defendant’s lawyer is present? Does an in-custody defendant still have to be advised of his Miranda rights before he can be questioned by police?
I did some digging, and the case law on this issue genuinely surprised me.
The United States Supreme Court’s 2019 term is well underway, and several criminal law cases are on the docket. Listed below are the principal criminal law cases currently before the court, with a link to the docket entry for each case, followed by the Questions Presented. Continue reading →
The advent of cannabis legalization across the country has led to a proliferation of new types of cannabis products. There are skin patches, food and drinks (for humans and pets), vaporizer or “vape” cartridges (or “carts”), and different concentrate or extract products (“dabs”, “wax” or “shatter”, among other names). [Click that last link and scroll down to see a chart listing the different forms of extracts and their names.] The products can be made from lawful hemp, or from illegal marijuana alike. The illegal versions have found their way into North Carolina, and questions abound regarding how to handle these cases. The questions most commonly involve wax and cartridges, so this post takes a look at the issues surrounding those cases (leaving the skin patches and edibles for another day). Continue reading →