In State v. McLymore, 380 N.C. 185, 868 S.E.2d 67 (2022), our Supreme Court held that Section 14‑51.3 “supplants the common law on all aspects of the law of self-defense addressed by its provisions,” and “the only right to perfect self-defense available in North Carolina [is] the right provided by statute.” Id. at 191, 868 S.E.2d at 72-73. At the same time, it interpreted the felony disqualifier provision of Section 14-51.4 – consistently with “common law principles” – to require a causal nexus between the felony and the use of force. Id. at 197, 868 S.E.2d at 77. The common law is apparently not so easily dispensed with. This post – my first contribution to this forum – addresses the persistence of the common law in the area of self-defense. My colleague Phil Dixon provided color commentary on McLymore here. My colleague John Rubin discussed the felony disqualifier provision (and anticipated the holding in McLymore) here.
The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice recommended in a 2020 report that state and local law enforcement agencies enact policies requiring officers to intervene in and report about circumstances in which a law enforcement officer witnesses excessive use of force or abuse of a suspect or arrestee. The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association similarly recommended in a 2020 report that all law enforcement agencies and the North Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation Program adopt a policy requiring an officer to intervene when necessary to prevent another officer from using excessive force and to report any such intervention. This session, the General Assembly imposed such duties as a matter of state law rather than agency policy. This post will discuss current statutory law governing officer’s use of force and recent amendments enacted by S.L. 2021-137 (H 536) and S.L. 2021-138 (S 300).
In a previous blog post, I wrote about an inquiry we received at the School of Government about North Carolina General Statute Section 14-51, reproduced below. In that post, I addressed how to find the elements (what must be proven) of burglary. In this post, I will talk about how to find the legislative history of this, and any, statute.
Recently questions came to me and my SOG criminal law colleagues about the crime of burglary in North Carolina that made it clear some readers would benefit from a discussion of statutory versus common law definitions of criminal offenses, as well as how to research legislative history. I will address these two issues using one scenario across a couple of blog posts. I hope these posts will help in interpreting and understanding statutes.