blank

News Roundup

The first criminal trial of a former U.S. President continues to dominate the news. Trump’s trial on state charges of falsifying business records in furtherance of a felony in New York is now several weeks along. However the trial shakes out, the former president has already been adjudicated guilty of ten counts of criminal contempt for violating a gag order prohibiting him from talking about jurors and witnesses in the case. The trial judge has expressly warned Trump that further violations may result in jail (while also noting the practical difficulties that a jail term would entail). Politico has the latest on the contempt cases here.

Meanwhile, one of Trump’s other criminal cases involving the alleged mishandling of classified records in federal court in Florida is currently in limbo. While a trial date of May 20 had previously been set, the judge recently ruled that more time was needed to resolve pending pretrial motions and removed the case from the trial calendar without setting a new date for trial. It now seems likely that the Florida trial will not occur before the presidential election in November, as this story reports. Read on for more criminal law news.

Read more

blank

Lethality Assessment Protocol

Intimate partner violence is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship, usually between current or former spouses or current or former dating partners. According to the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of intimate partner violence. In North Carolina, 35.2% of women and 30.3% of men experience domestic violence and stalking in their lifetime.

Since 2018, the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ) has partnered with several communities across the state by sharing and helping implement the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP). The LAP, which was originally created in 2005 by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, is a program designed to prevent intimate partner homicides and serious abuse by connecting high-risk victims with safety resources. This post gives a brief introduction of how the LAP works and information for NC communities that may wish to participate.

Read more

Grant’s Pass, Homelessness, and the Constitutionality of Anti-Sleeping and Anti-Camping Ordinances

Homelessness is a challenging problem. Some cities have attempted to address it, in part, by prohibiting sleeping or camping in public places. The Supreme Court of the United States is currently considering whether, and under what circumstances, such ordinances are constitutional. I recently listened to the oral arguments in the case. Those who are currently litigating violations of anti-sleeping or anti-camping ordinances may be interested in this summary of the issues, as may those responsible for shaping municipal policy.

Read more

blank

News Roundup

The week began with tragedy. Four law enforcement officers were killed Monday afternoon in Charlotte when they attempted to serve arrest warrants on 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes, Jr., who shot at the officers when they arrived at his East Charlotte home. Officers returned fire, and Hughes was eventually shot and killed.

The slain officers are Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks, CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, and Sam Poloche and Alden Elliott of the Department of Adult Correction. Four other CMPD Officers were injured, but are expected to make a full recovery.

Two women, one of whom is 17, were in the home during the shooting. They were taken into custody, but neither has been charged with a crime, and it is unclear whether more than one person fired shots. An AR-15 rifle and a .40 caliber handgun were recovered from the scene. The Charlotte Observer has the story here.

Read more

blank

News Roundup

A lawsuit has been filed against the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and its secretary, asserting that the state’s lack of assessment and treatment services has resulted in people with severe mental disabilities suffering in county jails while waiting months for psychiatric services. The complaint—which can be accessed here—centers on those who sit in jail for months or years if there are concerns about their capacity to proceed in their criminal case. The lawsuit contends that they wait, on average, two months for an assessment to be completed and nearly five months for treatment at a state psychiatric hospital. While waiting, they remain in jail, sometimes longer than they would be if convicted.

Read more

Updated Content Now Available in the Digital Version of Arrest, Search, and Investigation in North Carolina

Most readers of this blog are familiar with Arrest, Search, and Investigation in North Carolina. For those who are not, it is a treatise on search and seizure law. It covers stops, arrests, warrantless searches, search warrants, and much more. The most recent (sixth) edition was published in 2021 and was authored by long-time School of Government faculty member Robert L. Farb and research attorney Christopher Tyner. However, the law is never static, and the intervening years have seen major developments concerning issues such as digital searches, strip searches, the recording of interrogations, the automobile exception to the warrant requirement, and more. I’ve updated the treatise, and this post details how to access the new content.

Read more

blank

What is the Maximum Commitment Period That Must be Noticed at Disposition in a Delinquency Case?

When the court issues an order of disposition committing a juvenile to a youth development center (YDC), that commitment is almost always required to be for an indefinite period of time that lasts at least six months. G.S.7B-2513(a). The court cannot order an end date for these commitments. However, the court is required to determine the maximum period the juvenile may remain committed before an extension would have to be filed or the juvenile must be released, and to notify the juvenile of that determination at the time disposition is ordered. G.S.7B-2513(a4). How should this maximum period of commitment be calculated? And is every commitment eligible for an extension? This post addresses these questions.

Read more

Confidential Informants, Motions to Reveal Identity, and Discovery: Part I, Roviaro v. U.S.

Today I begin a series of blog posts discussing the law around confidential informants, motions to reveal identity, and discovery. Technological developments have made it more common for law enforcement to document the activity of a confidential informant (“CI”) through video and audio recording. This change raises challenging legal questions, such as whether the identity of the confidential informant must be revealed to the defense and what must be turned over in discovery. Today’s post discusses the landmark case of Roviaro v. U.S. and introduces the basic issues, focusing on the factors that weigh toward or against the disclosure of the CI’s identity to the defense. Future posts will discuss the relevant statutes, key state cases, and federal courts’ analysis of these questions, along with procedural and strategic considerations.

Read more

News Roundup

The first criminal trial of a former U.S. president began this week in Manhattan. Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, based on allegations that he dishonestly classified payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal as legal expenses, when they were in fact hush-money payments to hide affairs. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York, but the crime is elevated to a felony when done with intent to conceal a second crime. District Attorney Alvin Bragg has stated that the evidence will show that Trump falsified the records with the intent to conceal campaign finance and tax crimes.

On Monday, the proceedings began with pre-trial evidentiary arguments, and presiding Judge Juan Merchan excluded certain pieces of evidence as too prejudicial. For example, prosecutors will not be permitted to play the audio recording of the “Access Hollywood” tape to the jury, but they will be permitted to introduce the campaign emails discussing the tape.

Jury selection is well underway. 50 of the original 96 prospective jurors were excused immediately after stating they could not be fair and impartial. The lawyers have scrutinized jurors’ prior social media posts to uncover potential biases as they decide whom to strike. As of today, 12 jurors and one alternate have been selected, with five more alternates to be picked.

Read on for more criminal law news.

Read more