The School of Government has published a new resource on initial appearances and pretrial release. Although any judicial official is authorized to preside at an initial appearance, in most cases that official is a magistrate. This guide addresses pretrial release only in the context of magistrates’ authority and limitations.
A .pdf of the publication is available here. I also have a printed version that will be available at the District Court Judges’ fall conference, with what I hope will be enough copies for the attending judges to bring back home to their magistrates.
The guide compiles the special initial appearance rules as provided by the North Carolina General Statutes, including guidance on the magistrates’ role in cases covered by the Pretrial Integrity Act, which took effect on October 1, and for cases that will fall within the scope of G.S. 15A-534.8 (pretrial release for rioting and looting) once it takes effect on December 1. More specifically, the resource is categorized into six sections, such as when to delay the setting of release conditions, when to set certain conditions, and when to deny release altogether.
While the guide does not contemplate scenarios in which more than one procedure may apply, I am happy to field any questions that arise under these circumstances. Thank you to my colleagues at the SOG and at the NCAOC who reviewed drafts of the guide. Thank you also to my colleagues Kevin Justice and Melissa Twomey, who designed and edited it.