Is G.S. 90-96(a) Mandatory or Discretionary?

Whether or not to grant a conditional discharge for an eligible defendant under G.S. 90-96(a) used to be within the discretion of the trial judge. In 2011, Justice Reinvestment made G.S. 90-96(a) mandatory for eligible defendants who consented to it. Two years later, it was once again made discretionary. Or was it?

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90-96 for Everything

G.S. 90-96 sets out a conditional discharge option for certain drug offenses. A conditional discharge is different from a deferred prosecution. In a conditional discharge program, the defendant is convicted (either after a trial or by pleading guilty), but then placed on probation without the court actually entering judgment in the case. If the defendant … Read more

G.S. 90-96 Limbo

The Justice Reinvestment Act made conditional discharge under G.S. 90-96(a) mandatory for eligible, consenting defendants. The law was amended last year to make it discretionary again for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013. S.L. 2013-210. But while it was mandatory, a lot of defendants were placed on probation under G.S. 90-96(a). Naturally, many … Read more

More Justice Reinvestment Clarifications Become Law

The Justice Reinvestment Act became law in 2011. S.L. 2011-192. Even before its initial effective date it was amended in 2011 by a technical corrections act. S.L. 2011-412. It was amended again by a clarifications act in 2012, making the changes described here.  S.L. 2012-188. Two weeks ago it was amended yet again, effective (in … Read more

The New G.S. 90-96

Last year, the Onion (my favorite news satire outfit) ran an article headlined “Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text.” It’s a pretty funny take on modern society’s overreliance on things like bullet points and YouTube to process information. The headline made me think of G.S. 90-96. As most readers know, G.S. 90-96 allows … Read more