Computer Searches and the Scope of Consent

Most readers of this blog know (1) that a search done pursuant to consent doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment, but (2) that the scope of search is limited by the terms of the consent.  Thus, if Ollie Officer asks Sam Suspect whether he can search Sam’s house for the body of Vickie Victim, and Sam … Read more

News Roundup

Several stories of interest to readers of this blog have appeared over the last several days.  First, the Winston-Salem Journal, in an editorial available here, is asking the General Assembly to take a close look at the death penalty, and to impose a moratorium while it does so.  Of course, as the editorial notes, we … Read more

GPS Tracking for Domestic Violence Offenders?

An interesting article in the New York Times, available here, talks about the increasing use of GPS tracking in domestic violence cases, either as a condition of pretrial release or as part of a probationary sentence.  The story indicates that twelve states have passed legislation designed to enable the use of GPS in such cases.  … Read more

Magistrates Appointing Counsel?

Last term, the United States Supreme Court decided Rothgery v. Gillespie County, available here.  As most folks likely know, before Rothgery, North Carolina law held that a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel “attached” when the defendant had his first appearance before a district court judge.  After Rothgery, it’s clear that the right attaches at … Read more

Breathalyzer Source Code

Once again, my interest in criminal law and my interest in technology have come together in a brewing legal controversy.  The issue is whether a DWI defendant who has submitted to a breath test for alcohol has a right to access the “source code” of the breath analysis machine.  The Minnesota Supreme Court, in State … Read more

Preliminary Hearings on Probation Violations

Under G.S. 15A-1345(c), a preliminary hearing on a probation violation must be held within seven working days of a probationer’s arrest to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the probationer violated a condition of probation, unless the probationer waives the preliminary hearing or a final hearing is held first. I’m told the … Read more

Juvenile LWOP and the Supreme Court

I was thinking about making today’s post a news roundup, since there’s been so much interesting criminal law news recently, including a rumor suggesting that Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson could be under consideration to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court.  (More information about that here.) But those plans were blown out of … Read more

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Stick to the Plan (er, Policy)

Before December 1, 2006, GS 20-16.3A set forth requirements governing impaired driving checkpoints but not other types of checking stations and roadblocks.  While non-DWI checking stations and roadblocks had to satisfy the strictures of the state and federal constitution, no specific statutory procedures governed their establishment and use.  The Motor Vehicle Driver Protection Act of … Read more

News Roundup

Big news on the high court: Justice David Souter, who famously said that he had the world’s best job in the world’s worst city, is reportedly retiring at the end of the term in June.  The New York Times story is here.  Souter was appointed by the first President Bush on the assumption that he … Read more

Kansas v. Ventris and the Sixth Amendment

The Supreme Court’s latest criminal law decision is Kansas v. Ventris, available here.  The basic holding is that a statement obtained in violation of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel may be admitted for impeachment purposes, so long as the statement was voluntary. In brief, the defendant in Ventris was charged with murder and … Read more