Barlow Strikes Back

After Justice Reinvestment, all North Carolina felonies are predicate felonies for certain federal purposes. That was the Fourth Circuit’s recent conclusion in United States v. Barlow. The decision significantly rolls back the court’s 2011 ruling in United States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237 (4th Cir. 2011), which held that many low-level North Carolina offenses were … Read more

Sentencing Whiteboard: How Class F-I Felony Sentences Are Served

These days, you can find an online instructional video for pretty much anything. Cooking techniques, auto repair, differential calculus. Why not criminal sentencing? Today’s post is my first attempt at a microlecture on a discrete sentencing topic: Understanding how minimum and maximum sentences work for Class F–I felonies. You can view the video here. I’ll … Read more

Advising a Defendant of the Maximum Possible Sentence During a Habitual Felon Plea

When a defendant pleads guilty, the judge is required to “inform[] him of the maximum possible sentence” associated with his offense. G.S. 15A-1022(a)(6). When a defendant pleads guilty to being a habitual felon, he must be informed of the maximum sentence he faces as a habitual felon, because the enhanced sentence is a “direct consequence … Read more