Speedy Trial

The News and Observer ran a story recently — available here — about the length of time it takes to resolve murder cases in North Carolina. The average time to disposition was 528 days last year. That figure includes cases resolved by plea or dismissal, suggesting that the average time to trial is probably longer. … Read more

Law and Technology News Roundup

I’m more interested than the average person in the intersection between criminal law and emerging technologies.  Several blog-worthy stories in that area have developed over the last few days. First, it looks like more states are considering legislation to keep sex offenders off social networking sites.  I wrote about North Carolina’s law here, and you … Read more

Postconviction DNA Testing

The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in the Osborne case, an Alaska case that asks whether a criminal defendant who claims that he has been wrongfully convicted has a constitutional right to postconviction DNA testing of biological evidence.  The transcript of the oral argument is available here, and a news story that … Read more


I posted yesterday about one of the recent Court of Appeals decisions.  At the risk of going back to the well, I want to highlight another of those cases today.  (I’ve got something else in mind for tomorrow.) In State v. Revels, available here, the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder.  She appealed, claiming that … Read more

Careful Questioning in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Further Update: The court has reissued an opinion in this case. On the issue discussed below, it is very similar — at a minimum — to the original opinion. Update: As of April 1, 2009, the Court of Appeals has withdrawn this opinion.  I’ll post again when the new opinion comes out. The Court of … Read more

Supreme Court News

The Supreme Court (Washington, not Raleigh) has had a bit of a slow February so far, whether because of Justice Ginsburg’s well-publicized health problems or for some other reason.  Still, it’s done a couple things of interest to criminal lawyers. First, it adopted a broad interpretation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), which prohibits people who have … Read more

Multiple Assault Convictions Based on the Same Conduct

North Carolina has a number of different assault crimes, like simple assault, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, and so on.  We also have a confusing body of case law regarding the propriety of multiple assault convictions based on a single course of conduct.  For example, can a defendant who assaults his … Read more