Earlier this week, the students and I spent the afternoon at Central Criminal Court in London, formerly called the Old Bailey and located at the intersection of Old Bailey and Newgate streets in the heart of London’s law district. I can guarantee that this post will not be as captivating as Rumpole of the Bailey, the British television series about fictional barrister Horace Rumpole. But, like most trips to court, it was certainly interesting. Continue reading
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Consider the following scenario: Driver Dan is traveling down a dark county two-lane road in his sedan. Traffic is light but slow due to the cold weather and mist. Another driver in a truck appears behind Dan and starts tailgating him, getting within a few feet of his bumper. After unsuccessfully trying to pass Dan, the other driver begins tailgating Dan even more, now staying within inches of his bumper. When the cars ahead turn off and the road is clear, slows to let the other driver pass, but the other driver continues closely riding Dan’s bumper for several miles, flashing high beams at times. Eventually, the other driver pulls alongside Dan and begins “pacing” him, staying beside Dan’s car instead of passing. The other driver then begins to veer into Dan’s lane, forcing Dan’s passenger-side tires off the road. As Dan feels the steering wheel begin to shake, he fears losing control of his car and decides to defend himself with his (lawfully possessed) pistol. He aims through his open window at the other driver’s front tire and shoots, striking it and halting the other vehicle. The other driver stops without further incident, and Dan leaves. Dan is eventually charged with shooting into an occupied and operating vehicle, a class D felony and general intent crime.
Vote here, and then read on for the answer. Continue reading →
To enter most courthouses these days, a person must submit to a security search. Often, one must walk through a metal detectors and pass one’s personal items through an x-ray device. Are these security procedures constitutional? Are there any limits to how intrusive they may be? Read more to find out. Continue reading →
This News Roundup was written on Wednesday prior to UNC’s closure on Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the arrival of hurricane Florence. Our thanks go out to all of the state and local officials, law enforcement agencies, and emergency response personnel who are working to keep North Carolinians safe during the storm. Keep reading for more news.
My criminal justice students and I visited the British Library this morning to view an original Magna Carta (several originals were created by hand). I had considered taking them to Runnymede, the fabled meadow where the English barons forced King John to sign Magna Carta over 800 years ago in the year 1215. Apart from the time it would take to get there from London, I learned the British had repurposed the space to suit modern life. Runnymede is now considered an . . . Continue reading →
In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the Supreme Court held that a sentencing regime that makes life without parole mandatory for a murder committed by a defendant under the age of 18 is unconstitutional. The rule applies retroactively. Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016). North Carolina amended its statutes to comply with the ruling in 2012, enacting G.S. 15A-1340.19A through -1340.19D to create an option to sentence certain young defendants to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Today’s post considers where we are after a half-decade under the new regime. Continue reading →
As far as I know, July 21, 2015, was a pretty normal day at the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The court published around a dozen opinions. Most of them dealt with issues like worker’s compensation and equitable distribution, but there were a few criminal cases. One of them was State v. Saldierna, a juvenile interrogation case, which was later reversed. Bob Farb blogged about that here.
In other words, just another day at the office.
The court also released more than 30 additional opinions on the same day, on the same website, written by the same judges, and many of them addressed hot-button criminal topics like lay witness identification of drugs, custodial interrogations of juveniles, sufficiency of a drug indictment, and improper closing arguments.
But those cases were marked as “unpublished,” so we all pretty much just ignored them and pretended they didn’t happen.
Wait… what? What are unpublished cases? We’re told that citing to them is “disfavored,” so are they good law or not? Who decides which cases make the cut for publication? And more importantly — why? In a digital world where cases are available online, what does “unpublished” really mean? And why are we talking about July 21, 2015?
So many questions. I have one or two answers.
If you find this blog useful and would like to get your CLE from the School of Government faculty and staff who post here, you’re in luck! This fall, we’ll be hosting our first annual CLE event. In keeping with the time of year, we’re calling it Back to School: CLE @ SOG.
We’re excited about the event, which will feature civil and criminal sessions, plus some of general interest. We’ve pulled in some terrific outside speakers, including Attorney General Josh Stein and his wife Anna, both of whom are focused on legal strategies to combat the opioid epidemic. And yes, we’ve got sessions that cover ethics and substance abuse as well. We’ll even feed you lunch.
The flyer is below, and full details are here. (Click on the materials tab to see the detailed agenda.) We hope to see you there!
This week it was widely reported that federal investigators have issued subpoenas to the North Carolina State Board of Elections as well as to elections boards in 44 counties in the eastern part of the state requesting the production of millions of voter records. The Associated Press says that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued the subpoenas on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting that the underlying investigation concerns illegal voting by people who are not citizens. The AP piece notes that two weeks ago the Eastern District U.S. Attorney announced charges against 19 foreign nationals arising from alleged illegal voting activities. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
My wife and I arrived in London yesterday morning, where we will be spending the fall semester. In addition to serving as the faculty director for UNC’s honors study abroad program, I will be teaching an undergraduate course on criminal law and justice. Assuming I’ve done it right, below are pictures of the entrance to our home away from home for the next four months, UNC’s Winston House on Bedford Square in central London. Continue reading →