As a general rule, most defendants are entitled to have conditions of pretrial release set without unnecessary delay, and this typically happens at the initial appearance before a magistrate. G.S. 15A-511; -534. There is a carve out for capital defendants—only a judge can set conditions in a capital case and conditions are in the judge’s discretion. G.S. 15A-533(c). The statute contains other exceptions to the general rule, such as the 48-hour hold rule for domestic violence cases, providing that only a judge can set conditions within the first 48 hours of arrest. G.S. 15A-534.1(a). North Carolina’s new Pretrial Integrity Act, effective October 1, 2023, and applying to offenses committed on or after that date, creates significant additional exceptions to the general rule.
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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The First Amendment permits criminal punishment for speech only when it falls within an established exception. True threats, incitement to violence, obscenity, and fighting words are among the categories of speech falling outside the protections of the First Amendment (although the fighting words exception is arguably defunct as a practical matter, as I wrote here). Each category has narrow definitions and standards that must be met as a matter of constitutional law before criminal liability can be imposed. My former colleague Jonathan Holbrook has written about the incitement exception and the true threats exception before. I wanted to write about another First Amendment exception, one that is much broader than the rest—speech integral to criminal conduct. Read on for the details.
Last month the General Assembly enacted new G.S. 20-141.10 criminalizing so-called street takeovers. S.L. 2023-97. A street takeover occurs when a person blocks or impedes traffic on a highway, street, or public vehicular area with a motor vehicle in order to perform a motor vehicle stunt, contest, or exhibition. The new statute, effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2023, makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle in a street takeover or to participate in or coordinate such an event. S.L. 2023-97 further authorizes the seizure of a motor vehicle operated in violation of G.S. 20-141.10.
I recently participated in a webinar with my colleagues Chris McLaughlin and Kirk Boone about the right of tax appraisers to enter private property. The webinar is available for purchase here. Professor McLaughlin has blogged about the issue before, and he has written again following our discussion. This post encapsulates what I learned in preparation for that webinar. It summarizes the laws governing criminal trespassing in North Carolina, glancing briefly back to their antecedents in the common law and looking ahead to recent statutory changes.
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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