If you’ve noticed an uptick in probation hearings on extensions, today’s post may help explain why. As of last month, Community Corrections will no longer seek ordinary extensions of probation without notice and a hearing. In other words, they will no longer seek “in chambers” extension orders, even when the defendant consents to them. Continue reading →
When determining a defendant’s prior record level for felony sentencing, prior convictions count for points according to their classification as of the offense date of the crime now being sentenced. G.S. 15A-1340.14(c). That law helps modernize a person’s record, treating it according to present-day classification standards as opposed to those that existed at the time of the prior offenses themselves. The rule can cut in either direction. If the offense class of the prior conviction has increased between the time of the prior and present offenses, the prior counts for points according to the higher offense class. If the offense class has decreased, the prior counts at its new, reduced level.
The rule is simple enough to apply when an offense classification for a single crime is ratcheted up or down. What do you do, though, when a person has a prior conviction for an offense that has since been split into multiple offenses with different classifications? A recent case gives some guidance. Continue reading →
Whether or not to grant a conditional discharge for an eligible defendant under G.S. 90-96(a) used to be within the discretion of the trial judge. In 2011, Justice Reinvestment made G.S. 90-96(a) mandatory for eligible defendants who consented to it. Two years later, it was once again made discretionary. Or was it? Continue reading →
After nearly 18 years at the helm, Judge Erwin Spainhour is stepping down as chairman of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission. Today’s post takes a moment to recognize his service and the good work done by the Commission under his leadership. Continue reading →