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.
Maybe so, if two decisions from earlier this month are any indication. They are: State v. Bishop, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 3, 2017), where the court refused to consider arguments about the reasonableness of satellite-based monitoring (“SBM”) when the issue was not preserved or properly appealed, and State v. Greene, ___N.C. App. ___ (Oct. 3, 2017), where the court refused to remand a SBM hearing when the State failed to present sufficient evidence of the reasonableness of SBM. Before I discuss those cases, some background first.
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.