Yesterday, Mary Pollard began work as just the third Executive Director of the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), which began its work two decades ago in 2000. IDS is the statewide agency responsible for overseeing and enhancing legal representation for indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law. Over the weekend, before she became deluged with her new responsibilities, Mary graciously agreed to do a quick interview with me. Read on to get to know a little more about her.
This fall is manual season, and I am excited to announce the release of the 2017 edition of the North Carolina Juvenile Defender Manual. Like our other indigent defense manuals, this online manual can be viewed at no charge. If you’re interested in purchasing a soft-bound version of the manual, available later this month, visit this page.
For today’s post, I conducted a short interview with Tom Maher, the executive director of the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS), the statewide agency in North Carolina that oversees the provision of legal representation for indigent defendants in criminal and other cases. We talk about the recent raise in the rates for private assigned counsel doing high-level felony work, the status of public defense funding in North Carolina, and the importance of a robust system of indigent defense generally. Readers may be aware that I served as a private assigned counsel for many years before coming to work at the School of Government, and it’s a topic near and dear to me. Indigent defense is equally important for court actors and citizens of the state, and I hope you find the interview informative. It runs around 13 minutes, with minor edits for the sake of time and clarity. Click here to watch.
This post addresses three recurrent issues concerning eyewitness identification:
- When, if at all, is expert testimony about eyewitness identification admissible?
- When, if at all, is an indigent defendant entitled to funds with which to hire an expert on eyewitness identification?
- May jury instructions, rather than expert testimony, be used to inform the jury about factors relevant to the accuracy of an eyewitness identification?
This blog post has good news, bad news, and good news about Alyson Grine, who has served as the School’s defender educator for ten years. During that time, Alyson and I worked closely together on indigent defense education, and I wanted to write this farewell on the School’s behalf. The good news is that she is excited to start her new position this fall as an assistant professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, and we are excited for her. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The bad news is that she will be leaving the School, and to put it mildly we are sorry to see her go. Then again, the good news is that she leaves a remarkable record of accomplishments in indigent defense education, on which we can continue to build. What has she done in the past ten years? The more apt question is what hasn’t she done.
In 2015, the Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) asked the School of Government to conduct an online survey of how superior and district court judges view IDS’s administration of indigent defense in North Carolina. Last week, the School issued its report of the survey results, Trial Judges’ Perceptions of North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense Services: A Report on Survey Results (March 2016) (referred to below as the Report). The verdict? Judges have a positive view of IDS’s performance, overall and in several key areas, but the results include a few warning signs for indigent defense.
Emily Coward and I are glad to share a new resource with you: a reference manual entitled Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases. If you are a person who likes to have a hard copy on the shelf, you can buy it here. Like our other manuals, it is available for free online at http://defendermanuals.sog.unc.edu. (The electronic platform has been retooled, and I think you will find that it has a nice look and is user-friendly.)
The Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) is studying data related to the disposition of seventeen types of misdemeanor charges during the 2009 fiscal year to determine whether decriminalization of these offenses might be an appropriate way to reduce the cost to the State of providing appointed counsel. Section 15.17 of S.L. 2009-451 directed IDS … Read more
I’ve been involved in the New Prosecutors’ School this week, but the flow of criminal law news has been constant. First, the News and Observer had an interesting story yesterday, available here, about the use of protective orders under the discovery statute. The details are a little hazy, but it appears that a protective order … Read more
A Chicago Tribune article, available here, states that an Illinois public defender recently moved to prohibit the state from seeking the death penalty against her client because the state does not have enough money to pay for the expert witnesses that she believes she will need at the penalty phase of the trial. Apparently, Illinois … Read more