An officer sees a motorcycle that he has probable cause to believe is stolen parked in the suspect’s driveway. The motorcycle is partially covered by a tarpaulin. May the officer lawfully walk into the driveway without the permission of the suspect or any other resident and lift the tarp to read the license plate and VIN number on the motorcycle? Continue reading
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Late last week a familiar national tragedy played out in Santa Fe, Texas, where a teenager, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, went to his high school armed with a shotgun and a pistol and killed ten people, many of them fellow students. Pagourtzis was taken into custody and charged with ten counts of murder and various other offenses. Most of the details will sound numbingly familiar: Pagourtzis kept to himself; his father owned the weapons legally; the school was prepared; Democrats called for gun control; Republicans called for more effective security measures and mental health services; American students are afraid to go to school. Keep reading for more news.
Sentence credits are the days of credit the prison system can award to inmates as an incentive for good behavior, work, or participation in programs in prison. The main sentence reduction credit for sentences imposed under Structured Sentencing is earned time. Earned time reduces an inmate’s maximum sentence, hastening his or her release from prison to post-release supervision. Can it also reduce the person’s term of post-release supervision? Continue reading →
A week ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States resolved a circuit split and ruled that a person driving a rental car, but not listed on the rental agreement, has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle . . . at least sometimes. The case is Byrd v. United States. Continue reading →
Michigan State University reached a $500 million settlement this week with the hundreds of women that Larry Nassar sexually abused under the guide of medical treatment while working in the gymnastics community. The New York Times says that the settlement is the largest ever in a sexual abuse case involving an American university. Lawsuits against U.S.A. Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and other organizations still are pending. Nassar worked at Michigan State for 20 years, and some of his victims have said that the university ignored complaints about his behavior dating back to at least the late 90’s. Keep reading for more news.
In Grady v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 1368 (2015), the Supreme Court held that North Carolina’s satellite-based monitoring regime for sex offenders is a search, but left it to North Carolina’s courts to decide whether it is an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. We got an answer for one defendant this week, as Torrey Grady’s case circled back through the court of appeals. Continue reading →
Back in April 2017, I blogged about State v. Jacobs, ___ N.C. App. ___, 798 S.E.2d 532 (March 12, 2017) here. That post focused on the preservation aspect of the case—the defendant failed to preserve a constitutional challenge to the trial court’s exclusion of evidence in a sexual assault prosecution. The alleged victim, the defendant’s minor daughter, had two sexually-transmitted diseases (“STDs”) that the defendant did not. The defendant wished to present expert testimony about the different test results. The trial court excluded the evidence under Rule 412, the rape shield rule, and the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed. Because no constitutional challenge to the ruling was made at trial, the Court of Appeals refused to consider the argument that the exclusion of the STD evidence violated the defendant’s right to present a defense. In a 6 to 1 opinion, the N.C. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals on the Rule 412 issue early last month, granting the defendant a new trial. State v. Jacobs, ___ N.C. ___, 811 S.E.2d 579 (April 6, 2018). Today’s post summarizes the Supreme Court decision, which adds a new wrinkle to the application of Rule 412 in rape and sexual offense cases. Continue reading →
The Supreme Court of the United States decided Murphy v. NCAA today, and the headlines suggest that the opinion has rendered sports betting legal nationwide. The reality is a little more complicated than that. Continue reading →
On Monday, the New Yorker reported that four women have accused New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of inflicting physical violence and other abuse upon them in the context of romantic relationships. The allegations have received significant national attention, in part because Schneiderman has presented himself publicly as a staunch supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse. Schneiderman issued a statement contesting the allegations, but resigned from office within hours of the story’s publication; he is now under criminal investigation. Keep reading for more news.
Yesterday I went to Lillington to teach a class for the inmates in the North Carolina prison system’s Sex Offender Accountability and Responsibility (SOAR) program. I’d like to share a little bit about what I taught—and what I learned. Continue reading →