One of the more common questions I receive about the transfer of a case from juvenile jurisdiction to the jurisdiction of the superior court for trial as an adult is whether transfer can be ordered based on consent of the juvenile. The issue seems to cross my desk when a juvenile has some charges pending in criminal court and there are unrelated felony charges pending under juvenile jurisdiction. The short answer is no. The statutory structure that governs transfer does not allow for ordering transfer based on consent. Why?
Former President Donald Trump was indicted on Monday for the fourth time. A Fulton County grand jury returned a 41-count indictment charging Trump and 18 others with a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that indictment is the culmination of a two-year investigation launched by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis following Trump’s leaked January 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” him 11,780 votes.
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On August 22, 2023, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm EST, the UNC School of Government Criminal Justice Innovation Lab (the Lab) will host a FREE webinar, Reimagining Police Crisis Response. In many communities, law enforcement officers are first responders to calls for service involving social issues like homelessness and mental health and substance use … Read more
On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was indicted for a third time. Trump previously was indicted in New York state court for allegations that he paid hush-money to an adult firm star days before the 2016 presidential election. The second indictment, filed in federal court in Florida, relates to the discovery of classified documents in Trump’s home after he left the White House. Some experts deem the latest indictment, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, as the most consequential. Trump is accused of attempting to remain in power, despite having lost the 2020 election, by subverting election results. The indictment alleges that Trump engaged in unlawful conspiracies that “built on the widespread mistrust [Trump] was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud” and that “targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election.” Trump appeared in court on Thursday and entered a plea of not guilty.
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Law enforcement officers can’t cite every jaywalker, stop every speeder, and arrest every underage drinker, nor would most people want them to do so. Wisely exercising discretion is an important part of an officer’s work. At the same time, North Carolina has a statute that makes it a crime for an officer willfully to fail to discharge his or her duties. That statute has occasionally been used to prosecute officers who chose not to enforce criminal laws. This post considers the extent to which the statute constrains an officer’s discretion.
Hunter Biden has been the focus of journalistic, criminal, and political investigations for years as a result of questionable overseas business dealings and other alleged misconduct. Earlier this week, he apparently planned to put an end to his legal limbo by (1) pleading guilty in federal court to two misdemeanor counts of failure to pay taxes on over $1.5 million in income, and (2) entering into a two-year diversion agreement that would potentially result in his nonprosecution for a felony charge of possessing a firearm while being a drug user. The plea agreement also contained promises by the government not to prosecute Biden for certain other conduct and to recommend probation for the tax offenses. Although the prosecution was under the supervision of a Trump-appointed United States Attorney, critics saw the agreement as a sweetheart deal tainted by political interference. The Heritage Foundation and at least one member of Congress submitted filings to the court asking the judge not to accept the plea. And on Wednesday, Judge Maryellen Noreika did just that, expressing concern about the scope of the nonprosecution agreement and how Biden’s compliance with the deferral would be determined. The parties are apparently regrouping and attempting to reach a new agreement that the judge will accept. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are keen to hold hearings on the whole mess. Reuters has the basics here and CNN has some pertinent documents here. Keep reading for more news.
I’m writing this week to let readers know that several chapters in the criminal law section of the Superior Court Judges’ Benchbook, a resource created and formerly edited by my colleague Jessica Smith, have been updated. The chapters are written to guide the work of superior court judges, but are nevertheless useful for all criminal … Read more
Delinquency adjudications and criminal convictions of minors who have been transferred to Superior Court for trial as adults both require that the elements of the offense charged are proved beyond a reasonable doubt, including that the required criminal state of mind, or mens rea, existed. The adolescent mind has been the subject of substantial scientific research. This research grounded several United State Supreme Court decisions related to criminal punishment of minors and when Miranda warnings are necessary. However, the question of how the science of adolescent brain development does or does not connect to the mens rea requirements of various offenses is not well litigated. The North Carolina Court of Appeals dipped a toe in this area in its recent ruling in State v. Smith, __ N.C. App. __ (June 6, 2023).
On my drive home yesterday, I heard a news story on the radio. The report indicated that the Illinois Supreme Court had just upheld a law completely eliminating financial conditions of release in the Prairie State – apparently making it the first state in the country to abolish cash bail. The story didn’t detail the legal arguments at issue in the case, or even who had challenged the law. Given the national interest in bail reform, I thought the Illinois case might be a harbinger of things to come elsewhere, so I looked into it. This post briefly summarizes what I learned.
According to WRAL and other sources, seven homes and one business have been damaged in six fires in Durham since July 2. The homes are all in the same area of town and were vacant at the time. Authorities believe the fires were intentionally set and are actively seeking information from the public about possible suspects. Read on for more criminal law news.