Motorists across the state are scrambling to find gas after a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline significantly reduced shipments of fuel throughout much of the east coast this week. The attack, which involved encrypting data on the company’s computer systems, is being blamed on a group called DarkSide that is thought to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe. The brazen international crime has caused a ripple effect of relatively minor local crime – as ABC 11 reports, two people have been charged with assault after fighting each other over spots in line at a station in Knightdale. Keep reading for more news.
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Last week, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued its opinion about the availability of state habeas corpus to obtain release from custody by an inmate particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Below is an analysis of the decision prepared by Ian Mance, who has worked on several topics related to COVID-19, available here, with the School of Government’s Public Defense Education group. Continue reading →
In the wake of the April 21 killing of Andrew Brown, Jr., in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, I have fielded several media inquiries about our body cam law and the judge’s ruling limiting access to the footage about the shooting. With the help of the School of Government’s public records expert, Frayda Bluestein, I learned several things about our law. Below are a few that stand out to me. (You can read Frayda’s thorough analysis of the body cam law here and a discussion by Jeff Welty of a 2019 amendment to the law here.) Continue reading →
This week Governor Roy Cooper appointed R. Andrew Murray, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, as the acting District Attorney for Prosecutorial District 42 following the removal of Greg Newman from office. Murray served as the District Attorney in Mecklenburg County prior to serving in the federal Western District. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
The latest cumulative supplement to North Carolina Crimes is now available. It incorporates legislation enacted and cases decided through December 31, 2020.
You can buy the book here. Purchase of the supplement includes free unlimited access to the online version of Crimes from the time of purchase until May 1, 2022. Online access is granted through a code printed in the front pages of the hard copy publication.
Instructions for accessing the online version are included with the book. For more ordering options related to Crimes, please click here.
Judicial Branch employees may procure copies through the AOC’s online store or contact the Purchasing Services Division (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions. Please note that the AOC requests prior approval from division managers before ordering through its online store.
When does questioning of a middle school student by the principal and in the presence of the school resource officer (SRO) constitute a custodial interrogation? The Court of Appeals of North Carolina issued a decision last week, In re D.A.H. ___ N.C. App. ___, 2021-NCCOA-135 (April 20, 2021), that details the legal analysis necessary to answer this question. The decision reviews the unique characteristics and law related to schoolhouse questioning and identifies seven factors most relevant to determining whether a juvenile is in custody and three factors most relevant to determining whether questioning is an interrogation. The application of this analysis to the facts of the case offers an important takeaway—the legal analysis must focus on an objective reasonable child standard and not on a particular child’s subjective familiarity with an SRO who is regularly present in the school environment. Continue reading →
In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the Supreme Court held that a person who commits a homicide when he or she is under 18 may not be mandatorily sentenced to life without parole; the sentencing judge must have discretion to impose a lesser punishment. In Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. 190 (2016), the Court held that Miller applies retroactively. When Montgomery was decided, I wondered (here) whether it did more than merely address Miller’s retroactive application. Language in the case indicated that a sentence of life without parole would be constitutionally permissible for only the most the most troubling young defendants—“those whose crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility.” Id. at 209. In Jones v. Mississippi, 593 U.S. ___ (2021), decided last week, the Court made clear that the Constitution does not require a sentencer to make a separate factual finding of permanent incorrigibility before sentencing a defendant to life without parole. Continue reading →
This post summarizes published criminal and related decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued in March of 2021 that may be of interest to state practitioners. Fourth Circuit summaries are also available on the UNC School of Government website, here. Continue reading →
The major national criminal law news of the week was the murder conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. The jury’s verdict followed a trial that lasted nearly two weeks and included testimony from witnesses ranging from bystanders who filmed the incident and pleaded for Floyd’s life to the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, spoke with the PBS NewsHour about what the verdict meant for his family and the wider movement to eliminate racial disparities in policing. Keep reading for more news.