Earlier this month, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided State v. Golder, ___ N.C. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___, 2020 WL 1650899 (April 3, 2020). Before that decision, there were somewhat tricky rules about how to preserve appellate review of all issues in a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of the evidence. No more. The Golder decision clarifies that all sufficiency issues are preserved with a properly timed motion to dismiss at trial. This decision overrules a line of cases holding otherwise and simplifies the process of preserving sufficiency issues at trial for defense counsel. Read on for the details.
On Jan. 7, 2020, the Court of Appeals decided State v. Schalow (“Schalow II”), ___ N.C. App. ___, 837 S.E.2d 593, temp. stay allowed, ___ N.C. ___, 837 S.E.2d 123 (Jan. 27, 2020), ruling that the State’s third prosecution of the defendant was vindictive and violated the rules for joinder of offenses. I previously wrote about the Court of Appeals decision in Schalow I regarding a double jeopardy issue (on which the defendant also prevailed), here. The vindictive prosecution holding of Schalow II is itself significant, and I encourage everyone to read the opinion in full for that part of the case alone. In this post, though, I wanted to focus on the joinder issue. This issue in the Schalow II opinion represents the first time that our appellate division has ever granted relief for a joinder of offenses violation.
Two weeks ago, the SOG hosted over 50 public defenders, contract attorneys, and private assigned counsel at its annual Felony Defender training. The training provides guidance to lawyers transitioning to superior court about handling a felony case from start to finish. Topics include discovery and investigation, pretrial motions, voir dire, and jury instructions, among others. On a personal note, it was my first training in my role as Defender Educator and my first behind-the-scenes look at the effort required to plan and execute a successful course. Without the hard work of the faculty and support staff from the SOG, as well as volunteers from IDS and the private bar, the program would not have been possible. Thanks to everyone that participated. I truly enjoyed the training, especially speaking with the lawyers that attended, and I hope they found it worthwhile as well.
Criminal procedure aficionados, close your red books and riddle me this:
A district court judge in a DWI case preliminarily grants a defendant’s motion to suppress. The State appeals to superior court. The superior court affirms the district court’s determination and remands the case for entry of an order suppressing the evidence and dismissing the charges. The district court enters the order. Does the State have the right to appeal?
That’s what I said to my husband during the breakfast hour this morning, while I was working as a short-order cook and waitress for three rather demanding customers (our children). To his credit, he complied and asked how he could help. As a result, I not only got relief, but I got to pick the … Read more