GiveUNC: A Note from Mike Smith, Dean of the School of Government

 

For the entirety of its 90 years of existence, the School of Government’s mission has been focused on the people of North Carolina. Through our commitment to offering high-quality education, advising, and support to public officials across the state, we improve the lives of North Carolinians. We firmly believe this work is more critical than ever.

 

You can help us continue to fulfill our mission.

Today is GiveUNC, the University’s annual giving day. No matter where you direct your gift to the School of Government, your generosity makes a tremendous difference. We are grateful for your support of both the School and the state of North Carolina.

I hope you’ll join us and take part in GiveUNC. Thank you for your support as we celebrate 90 years of service to the state of North Carolina.

Mike Smith
Dean, School of Government

 

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Case Summaries – U.S. Supreme Court (March 25, 2020)

This post summarizes a decision released by the United States Supreme Court on March 25, 2021. Continue reading

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News Roundup

A second mass shooting in the span of a week, this one killing 10 people at a Colorado grocery store, shook the nation on Monday.  Those killed included the first responding police officer, Eric Tally, a father of seven.  The apparent shooter, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was taken into custody after being shot by police and has been charged wih murder.  News reports indicate that Alissa was wearing a tactical vest and was armed with an assault style rifle that he bought last week.  Keep reading for more news.

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Biological Evidence in the Courtroom: Mandatory Judicial Inquiry

What comes to mind when you think about physical evidence that is also biological evidence? It might be a bloodstained shirt or the contents of a sexual assault examination kit. What about a bedspread or a laundry basket? How about a door or a phone booth? These are all items I have seen in evidence rooms across North Carolina in my work with the North Carolina Conference of Clerks of Superior Court on receiving, storing, and disposing of evidence. It is possible that each of these items meets the statutory definition of biological evidence. G.S. 15A-268 establishes that definition and provides explicit requirements around the preservation and disposal of biological evidence, including a specific inquiry into biological evidentiary value that courts must engage in each time physical evidence is offered or admitted into evidence in a criminal proceeding. Continue reading

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Virtual Court Proceedings—North Carolina Court Actors Weigh In

During the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal court systems moved to virtual proceedings to maintain essential court operations while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. To understand more about that transition and the lessons it holds for the future, we surveyed North Carolina trial judges, prosecutors, defenders, and clerks of court about virtual court. Our survey included questions about changes to court proceedings during the pandemic, the benefits of and concerns about virtual court, best practice suggestions for virtual proceedings, support for various virtual proceedings, experiences with using various technology platforms, and other aspects of virtual proceedings. We received responses from 182 people (Figure 1) from all 100 North Carolina counties.

Figure 1. Survey Respondents’ Current Role in the Criminal Justice System

Our full report is available here. In this post we summarize some top line results.

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News Roundup

A series of shootings in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead is the major criminal law news story of the week and has launched the issue of increasing violence committed against Asians to the forefront of national conversation.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

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Case Summaries: N.C. Court of Appeals (Mar. 16, 2021)

This post summarizes published criminal decisions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals released on March 16, 2021. Gabrielle Supak and Christopher Tyner prepared these summaries. As always, they will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to present.

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Case Summaries: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (Feb. 2021)

This post summarizes published criminal law and related decisions released by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in February, 2021, which may be of interest to state practitioners.  Previous summaries of Fourth Circuit cases are available on the SOG website here. Continue reading

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Case Summaries – N.C. Supreme Court (March 12, 2020)

This post summarizes criminal decisions released by the North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday, March 12, 2021. Continue reading

Emergency Directives Renewed and Legislation Proposed to Permanently Authorize Remote Proceedings

Chief Justice Paul Newby issued an order on Friday, effective today, extending emergency directives currently in place for an additional thirty days to in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tomorrow marks a full year of altered court operations, as the first set of COVID-19 emergency directives became effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

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