Officer Discretion and Failure to Discharge Duties under G.S. 14-230

Law enforcement officers can’t cite every jaywalker, stop every speeder, and arrest every underage drinker, nor would most people want them to do so. Wisely exercising discretion is an important part of an officer’s work. At the same time, North Carolina has a statute that makes it a crime for an officer willfully to fail to discharge his or her duties. That statute has occasionally been used to prosecute officers who chose not to enforce criminal laws. This post considers the extent to which the statute constrains an officer’s discretion.

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