The School of Government’s mobile app for Structured Sentencing is available for download. The version for Apple devices—iPhone and iPad—is in the iTunes App Store, linked here. (You’ll need at least an iPhone 4, running iOS7.) The Android version is in the Google Play store, here. Both versions are free.
The app will help you prepare a lawful sentence for any felony or misdemeanor sentenced under Structured Sentencing and for drug trafficking. For all types of sentences, an important first step in the process is to enter the offense date of the crime being sentenced. With that information in place, the app will automatically apply the law as it existed at the time of offense—including the proper sentencing grid, available sentencing enhancements, and statutory probation conditions, among other things. It’s accurate back to October 1, 1994.
The app can store multiple sentences at once, allowing you to work up sentences for all of a defendant’s charges, or perhaps different sentencing options for the same charge (e.g., habitual/non-habitual; active/probationary; etc.), which could be useful for brainstorming, in plea negotiations, or when advising a client.
Here are some additional features.
The app will help you avoid some common sentencing errors. If your split sentence is too long (or your probation period too long, or your fine too big), a pop-up will warn you about it.
There is a searchable chart of all North Carolina crimes, sorted by offense class.
There is a prior record level calculator.
Every screen in the app has an associated help screen that addresses legal issues and frequently asked questions germane to that step in the sentencing process. For example, the help screen for prior record level collects statutes and case law on which things count for points and which do not.
When legally appropriate, the app will prompt you for sentencing options such as extraordinary mitigation, advanced supervised release, substantial assistance, and the firearm/deadly weapon sentence enhancement. The app will calculate the enhanced or mitigated sentence, such as the ASR date, for you.
The app prepares a detailed report on each sentence that is exportable to email.
Steve Winsett of Mainprocessor, LLC, in Greensboro programmed the app. Steve is a visionary who cares a lot about how the court system does its work. Christopher Tyner and Cindy Lee helped me edit and check the app’s content. Robby Poore designed some of the app artwork.
The app was created with generous funding from the C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities, a UNC–Chapel Hill award promoting innovative scholarship that positively impacts constituencies outside the university. I am grateful to the Harvey family for their support of the university, and for recognizing the importance of accuracy in the work that readers of this blog do each day.
The sentencing app is the latest addition to the School’s family of apps. Just as he led us into blogging, Jeff led us into the world of apps with his mobile search and seizure guide, ASSET (for Apple and Android). In general, I find that it’s a good strategy in life to watch what Jeff Welty does and try my best to do it too.
I hope you’ll download the app and take a look. We’re already working on some additional functionality for future releases, so I welcome thoughts about how it could be improved to help you with your work.