How does the appointment of counsel to represent juveniles with cases that are transferred to superior court for trial as adults work? This can be a confusing question to answer given that the legal authority for the appointment of counsel changes at the time of transfer, there are important immediate legal issues following transfer, and there are so many different ways in which indigent defense services are provided across North Carolina. This blog will (1) identify the law that governs appointment of counsel when cases are in juvenile court and following transfer, (2) share recently released guidance from the N.C. Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) regarding appointment of counsel in matters that are transferred, and (3) suggest a procedure that could be followed to ensure that the rights of juveniles regarding appeals of transfer orders and conditions of pretrial release are ensured. Continue reading
Category Archives: Uncategorized
The North Carolina Judicial College was founded in 2005 to expand the education and training the School of Government has provided for judicial branch officials since the 1930s. Judicial College funding has enabled the School to provide more courses for a growing court system and to offer training in small group, interactive educational settings. Much of the work of the Judicial College is done in partnership with, and is supported by, the Administrative Office of the Courts. Our latest annual report, which we distributed in hard copy form last week, highlights our work over the last fiscal year. I thought you might be interested in reading about what we’ve been up to and seeing the new faces in our group. In this season of thanks, we are thankful for all of the professionals with whom we are trusted to work and who are dedicated to the administration of justice in North Carolina. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Following the killing of George Floyd, several of North Carolina’s judicial officials joined others across the state and nation in sharing their personal experiences and perspectives on racism, bias, and disparate treatment and in calling for improvements to our justice system. Wake County District Court Judge Ashleigh Dunston recounted in her Fall 2020 State Bar Journal article, Justice Isn’t Always Blind, numerous first-hand accounts from Black judges and attorneys who have endured demeaning and discriminatory treatment in and out of the courtroom. One of the approaches we have taken at the North Carolina Judicial College to promote racial equity is by providing education on implicit bias and about empirical analyses of disparate treatment of and outcomes for minorities. Neither of these approaches adequately imparts the personal pain that many court officials and attorneys themselves have experienced. To give voice to these experiences, we created a video series, Reflections on Race and Justice. Several brave jurists have contributed their personal narratives. Judges who have seen the series have shared with us the impact of their colleagues’ voices and the desire for improvement that it inspires. Our project is ongoing, and we hope to collect many more accounts. If you would like to contribute your own perspective to this project, please contact me at email@example.com.
Houston news outlet FOX 26 recently highlighted a new report from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin that examines COVID deaths in Texas prisons and jails, where the positive test rate is 490% higher than the rate in Texas as a whole. There are a number of notable findings in the report, including that 80% of people who died from the virus in jails were pretrial detainees and that nine people died after being approved for parole but before they were released. Slightly more than 10% of the people who have died in association with Texas correctional facilities were staff members. The full report is available here. Keep reading for more news.
Last week, the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association released a 31-page Report on Law Enforcement Professionalism recommending numerous law enforcement reforms. The report, created by a working group formed after the killing of George Floyd and the public outcry for policing reform that followed, is part of “an effort to create a law enforcement profession that will not tolerate racism and excessive force by law enforcement, and that will hold North Carolina law enforcement to a high standard.” (Report at 5.) Changes are recommended for officer certification and de-certification, training, agency accreditation, use of force policy and data collection, and recruiting and retention. The document, which, among other things, contains the most comprehensive description of the training and education requirements for law enforcement officers I’ve ever seen, is worth reading in its entirety. This post focuses only on one aspect of the report: recommendations that would enable hiring authorities, certifying commissions and state prosecutors to learn of misconduct by officers, including untruthfulness, that would impair the officer’s credibility as a witness in criminal prosecutions and which must be disclosed to the defense
The Greensboro News & Record reports that jury trials resumed this week in Guilford County after a nearly eight-month suspension due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The News & Record story discusses the difficult balance Guilford and other jurisdictions across the state are trying to strike as they grapple with a backlogged trial calendars amid increasing virus infection rates. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
This post summarizes published decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in October, 2020, that may be of interest to state practitioners. Continue reading →
A few months ago, Jamie Markham summarized the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Capps, 374 N.C. 621 (2020), affirming the procedure used by the state to cure a defect with the name of the victim in larceny and injury to personal property charges. The higher court’s decision reversed the Court of Appeals ruling in State v. Capps, 265 N.C. App. 491 (2019), a case that Jeff Welty blogged about here.
The more recent Capps case is one that I have found myself mentioning over and over again during presentations on pleadings, amendments, and legal updates, so I thought we should close the loop on those earlier blog posts by digging a little deeper into its holding. Procedurally, Capps is a significant and helpful case for the state, but it remains to be seen how one aspect of the decision will be reconciled with existing case law.
While the suspension of jury trials caused by the pandemic has slowed the work of the criminal courts, judges across the state continue to sentence defendants who enter guilty pleas. The prospect of their clients facing prison time during the pandemic has spurred defense attorneys to consider what arguments might be made during sentencing proceedings with respect to the heightened danger of a defendant contracting COVID-19 in a correctional facility.