Twenty-Five Year Reviews of Life Without Parole Sentences Are Underway

Under a law that existed from late 1994 to late 1998, North Carolina defendants sentenced to life without parole for offenses committed during that window are entitled to a judicial review after 25 years of imprisonment. I wrote about it here a few years ago, noting that the window for reviews would open in late 2019. Here we are.

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Frequency of Parole Reviews

North Carolina did away with parole for most crimes with the adoption of Structured Sentencing in 1994. Parole is still permitted in certain impaired driving cases, but infrequently granted in practice. Still, there are over 1,300 persons on parole in North Carolina. They are mostly former inmates who served time for serious offenses under Fair Sentencing (effective from 1981 to 1994) or other prior law. There are also over 2,000 inmates in prison serving sentences that are now or will one day be eligible for parole. Today’s post considers the law of how often those inmates are considered for parole.

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North Carolina’s Warrantless Search Conditions

In North Carolina, probationers, post-release supervisees, and parolees are subject to warrantless searches—sometimes by a probation-parole officer, sometimes by law enforcement officers. The statutory conditions that apply to each type of offender and officer are not identical. Today’s post collects them all in one place. Before getting into any of the complicated issues about the constitutionality of a warrantless search of a supervised offender, a sensible starting point is a careful look at the language of the search condition itself.

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DWI Parole: How Does It Really Work?

A few months ago, I taught a session on DWI sentencing to a group of judges.  As part of that session, I reviewed the rules for determining the parole-eligibility of a defendant convicted of impaired driving under G.S. 20-138.1 and sentenced to an active term of imprisonment under G.S. 20-179. The upshot of those rules, … Read more