The North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission released its biennial Correctional Program Evaluation, better known as the Recidivism Report. It is prepared in conjunction with the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, as required by G.S. 164-47. The full report is available here. It covers defendants placed on probation or released from prison in Fiscal Year 2019, and examines their subsequent arrests, convictions, and incarcerations during a two-year follow-up period. Continue reading →
Under G.S. 15A-1347(b), if a defendant waives a probation revocation hearing in district court, he or she may not appeal the revocation or imposition of a split sentence to superior court for a de novo violation hearing. That law was enacted in 2013 as part of legislation designed to streamline the superior court caseload, focusing it on contested cases and those implicating a defendant’s right to a jury trial. S.L. 2013-385. I wrote a post about that law in 2014, here, wondering about some of the then-new law’s wrinkles. The Court of Appeals considered its first case under G.S. 15A-1347(b) last year in State v. Flanagan, 2021-NCCOA-456, 279 N.C. App. 228 (2021). Continue reading →
Last week, Jamie blogged about the 2021 Structured Sentencing Statistical Report from the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission. As Jamie noted, that report contains detailed information related to felony and misdemeanor sentences imposed in Fiscal Year 2021, including the most commonly used felony grid cell, the number of convictions by district, average probation length, and typical sentencing outcomes for the most charged offenses. Because that report analyzes felony and misdemeanor convictions and sentences imposed under the Structured Sentencing Act, it does not include information about one of the most commonly charged misdemeanors in North Carolina: driving while impaired, which is sentenced under the sentencing scheme set out in G.S. 20-179. The Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission prepares a separate report each year analyzing those convictions, and the Driving While Impaired Convictions Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2021 is available here. Read on for highlights from the report, which contains data about convictions under G.S. 20-179 from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Continue reading →
State v. Graham, 2021-NCSC-125, 379 N.C. 75 (2021), sheds new light on what it means for an out-of-state prior conviction to be “substantially similar” to a North Carolina crime for prior record level purposes. Continue reading →
About seven years ago, I wrote this post about habitualized sex crimes. The issue I explored there was how to sentence a person convicted of a Class F through I sex crime when he or she has also attained habitual felon status. The question is whether the defendant, who is now sentenced as a Class B1 through E felon due to the habitual felon law’s four-class enhancement, is subject to the elevated maximum sentence applicable to Class B1 through E sex offenders under G.S. 15A-1340.17(f). When I wrote that post there was no appellate case answering the question. There is now. Continue reading →
In case you missed it, there is a new method of obtaining relief from criminal monetary obligations. Rule 28 of the North Carolina General Rules of Practice was adopted in December of last year and became effective on Jan. 1, 2022. The rule is titled “The Equitable Imposition of Monetary Obligations in Criminal and Infraction Cases Based on the Defendant’s Ability to Pay.” It directs trial courts to determine the defendant’s ability to pay before imposing any discretionary monetary obligations in covered cases. The Administrative Office of the Courts has rolled out a new form, AOC-CR-415, to assist with implementation. The new rule and form provide a pathway to relief for a substantial number of current and past defendants. I have created a webinar discussing the details here, which can be viewed for free or for a small fee if CLE credit is desired. In the spirit of the rule, the .75 hour of CLE credit is offered at a discounted rate. Check it out or read on for some frequently asked questions about the rule. Continue reading →
Senate Bill 300 was an omnibus criminal justice reform bill passed last year. One of its provisions presumptively decriminalizes most violations of local ordinances. In this post, I’ll address some of the questions that have arisen about that provision.
In an earlier post, I wrote that simple possession of fentanyl was a misdemeanor Schedule II offense under then-current law. No more. Effective Dec. 1, 2021, fentanyl possession in any amount is treated as a felony. I have been receiving calls about the change and thought a brief post would be useful. Read on for the details. Continue reading →