Easy Come, Easy Go: Legislature Removes Affidavit Requirement for Citizen-Initiated Criminal Process

About a year ago, I wrote this post, discussing what was then a new provision in G.S. 15A-304(b): “[A]n official shall only find probable cause based solely on information provided by a person who is not a sworn law enforcement officer if the information is provided by written affidavit.” This year, the General Assembly reversed course and removed the affidavit requirement.

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What to Do About Outstanding Arrest Warrants

Have you ever been involved in a case in which the defendant was convicted of a criminal charge, did his time, and then was served with an outstanding warrant even though the warrant was pending when he was convicted of the other charge? If the warrant had been served earlier, the defendant could have taken care all of his criminal business at once. Doing so would save the court time, allow the State to come up with an appropriate resolution of all the charges, and allow the defendant to coordinate his defense and, if convicted, seek concurrent sentences or a combination of active and probationary time. If resolved before a single court at the same time, the charges could be consolidated for judgment (G.S. 15A-1340.15(b)) and also would result in fewer prior record points (G.S. 15A-1340.14(d)).

A little-noticed piece of legislation from 2015, S.L. 2015-48 (H 570), attempts to address the problem of unserved warrants. Effective October 1, 2015, the legislation directs law enforcement agencies, the Division of Adult Correction, prosecutors, and the courts to identify and attempt to resolve outstanding warrants while other charges are pending or the defendant is in custody.

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Fascinating Footnote 3

The most famous footnote in all the world is generally acknowledged to be footnote 4 in United States v. Carolene Products Company, 304 U.S. 144 (1938). That footnote introduced to constitutional law the concept of tiered levels of scrutiny, an idea that deeply influenced the subsequent evolution of equal protection jurisprudence. Although not likely destined … Read more

Officers and NCAWARE

NCAWARE is an acronym for the North CArolina WArrant REpository. It is the computer system that is used by judicial officials, usually magistrates, to create criminal process documents such as arrest warrants and criminal summonses. The documents are stored permanently in the system, and can be viewed by anyone with access to the system. The … Read more

Going Back to the Well, er, Magistrate

I’ve been asked several times recently whether an officer who asks a magistrate to issue an arrest warrant and is turned down based on a lack of probable cause can simply go to another magistrate and ask the other magistrate to issue the warrant. The answer is yes. There’s no double jeopardy problem because jeopardy … Read more