The Supreme Court decided Timbs v. Indiana yesterday, holding that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is an incorporated protection applicable to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. What does the decision mean for North Carolina?
Suppose that when a criminal defendant appears in court, he is advised of the right to have counsel appointed if indigent, tells the judge he wants to hire his own lawyer, and signs a written waiver of his right to appointed counsel. When the defendant next appears in court, he does not have a lawyer. May the judge rely on the waiver of appointed counsel to require the defendant to proceed, without inquiring whether the defendant wants the assistance of counsel?
On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced major new limits on asset forfeiture. In a nutshell, he put a stop to the federal civil forfeiture of assets seized by state and local law enforcement and “adopted” under the Equitable Sharing program. The details are a little fuzzy, but this may be a very big deal in the world of forfeiture, for reasons I discuss below.
Part I of this post ended by noting that, like the racing forfeiture provisions in G.S. 20-141.3—and unlike the DWI seizure and forfeiture laws—the new felony speeding to elude seizure and forfeiture provisions in G.S. 20-141.5 fail to specify that payment of towing and storage costs is required to obtain the release of a motor … Read more
My nomination for catchiest short title of the 2011 legislative session goes to House Bill 427, enrolled and chaptered as S.L. 2011-271, and short-titled “Run and You’re Done.” The aptly captioned act provides for seizure and forfeiture of motor vehicles driven on or after December 1, 2011 in the commission of felony speeding to elude, … Read more
In response to my recent post (here) about waivers of counsel, a number of you emailed asking me to write about forfeiture of the right to counsel. Your wish is my command. Although cases sometimes confuse the terms, waiver is different from forfeiture. A waiver of counsel involves a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent relinquishment of … Read more
Eating the evidence might yield a stomach ache but it won’t ensure an acquittal. That is the lesson learned from State v. James, a case recently decided by the N.C. Court of Appeals. In James, an officer was patrolling in an unmarked vehicle when the defendant waived her over. As the officer opened her car … Read more
Three bills introduced in the General Assembly this session provide for seizure and forfeiture of motor vehicles involved in certain motor vehicle offenses. House Bill 451 provides for seizure of motor vehicles driven by persons charged with driving while license revoked if the person has two or more prior convictions for driving while license revoked. … Read more
I’ve been asked a couple of questions related to forfeiture lately, which has led me to realize that I don’t know much about it. So I’ll offer a little information below, and in exchange, will ask for some information from readers who know whether, and how, forfeiture is being used around the state. Forfeiture generally … Read more