I recently finished a new Administration of Justice Bulletin on Pretrial Release in Criminal Domestic Violence Cases. It is available here as a free download. Through a series of questions and answers, the bulletin discusses pretrial release generally; examines the special rules of pretrial release for domestic violence cases; and explores the mechanics of the 48-hour rule, the impact of violations of these special pretrial release rules, and questions on limitations of authority.
I previously blogged about the new misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, which will take effect on December 1, 2023. For the new offense, codified as G.S. 14-32.5, a person is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor if that person uses or attempts to use physical force, or threatens the use of a deadly weapon, against another person. The person who commits the offense must have a covered relationship with the victim, as specified by the statute.
While both the new misdemeanor domestic violence statute (G.S. 14-32.5) and the existing domestic violence pretrial release statute (G.S. 15A-534.1) require both a covered offense and a qualifying relationship, the requirements do not mirror one another. This post explores the interplay between the relationships listed under G.S. 14-32.5 and G.S. 15A-534.1.
Pretrial release is generally set by magistrates at a defendant’s initial appearance. As a special approach to setting conditions of pretrial release, the “48-hour rule,” as it is known in domestic violence cases, shifts that responsibility to judges. The rule comes from G.S. 15A-534.1, which provides that a judge rather than a magistrate must set a defendant’s pretrial release conditions during the first 48 hours after arrest for certain offenses. The 48-hour rule generates a lot of questions. Below, I have answered some fundamental questions that have arisen with this rule.
One of the projects that I wanted to finish before I go was updating my old paper on the 48-hour rule of G.S. 15A-534.1. I just completed the update. The new paper is available here. It is more comprehensive than before, but in a different format that is a little longer and less handy. It … Read more
In the 2015 legislative session, the General Assembly made two significant changes to the pretrial release statutes: (1) it effectively repealed a “bond doubling” provision for defendants rearrested while on pretrial release, and (2) it expanded the scope of the 48-hour rule for domestic violence cases to include dating couples.
Same sex marriage has been permitted in North Carolina for a couple of weeks. Shea blogged here about one potential criminal law implication: the possibility, discussed in a memorandum from the Administrative Office of the Courts, that magistrates could be charged criminally for refusing to marry same-sex couples. As noted in this recent news article, a number of magistrates have resigned as a result. But the issue I’ve been asked most about is how same-sex marriage relates to our domestic violence laws.
G.S. 14-196.3 prohibits “cyberstalking,” which the statute generally defines to mean using electronic communications to threaten, extort, make an abusive or embarrassing false statement about, or repeatedly harass another person. As Jessie noted in this prior post, cyberstalking has become a frequently charged offense. It can be committed by text message, email, Facebook, and other … Read more
In my first post in this series, I addressed the issue of who is entitled to conditions of pretrial release. In this post, I’ll address who can set conditions and what pretrial release options are available. Who Sets Conditions Conditions of pretrial release are set by a judicial official G.S. 15A-532(a). Typically, conditions are set … Read more
Under G.S. 15A-534.1, when a defendant is charged with assault, stalking, communicating threats, or certain other crimes against “a spouse or former spouse or a person with whom the defendant lives or has lived as if married,” a judge, rather than a magistrate, must set the defendant’s bond. The same rule applies when a defendant … Read more